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Patrick Hemmerlé (piano)

St Mary’s Church, Hay-on-Wye

Tickets £12 (students £6)


Tickets in person from Richard Booth's Bookshop, 44 Lion Street, Hay-on-Wye

or by telephone: 01497 820322

or online through Booth's Bookshop

or at the door

Please note:  time given for end of concert is approximate.

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It seems so ironic - one of the supreme masterworks of music, which has enthralled legions of scholars and performers for ages, was meant to put its first audience to sleep!

The so-called Goldberg Variations of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750) is believed to have been a gift to a Count Kayserling, an influential musical devotee who had secured for Bach an appointment as official composer to the Saxon court. Beyond being a deep honour, the title provided Bach much-needed royal protection against the pettiness of his employers, with whom he rarely got along. From his earliest days as a church organist, Bach was faulted for confusing congregations with flights of invention rather than strictly accompanying their hymns.

The Count suffered from bouts of insomnia and had hired one of Bach's pupils, the fourteen year old Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, to play for him during his restless nights. To soothe the Count, Bach wrote this piece, formally entitled Aria with Diverse Variations for Harpsichord with Two Manuals, in 1741. In gratitude, the Count sent Bach 100 louis d'or, a sum far exceeding his annual salary.

Bach's Goldberg Variations is often considered the purest expression of his creativity. But perhaps the ultimate display of the full range of Bach's art, as well as the outlet for his deepest, most personal feelings is the Goldberg Variations.

Chopin's 24 Preludes, Op 28, are a set of short pieces for the piano, one in each of the twenty-four keys, originally published in 1839. Chopin wrote them between 1835 and 1839, partly in Majorca, where he spent the winter of 1838–39 and where he had fled with George Sand and her children to escape the damp Paris weather. In Majorca, Chopin had a copy of Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier, and as in each of Bach's two sets of preludes and fugues, his Op 28 set comprises a complete cycle of the major and minor keys, albeit with a different ordering. 

Whereas the term ‘prelude’ had hitherto been used to describe an introductory piece, Chopin's pieces stand as self-contained units, each conveying a specific idea or emotion.

Patrick Hemmerlé is a French pianist based in Cambridge, UK. He performs regularly as a soloist and chamber musician. His repertoire is large with different areas of focus: a large part is devoted to Bach in particular and the great composers from the Austro-German tradition. Patrick is also interested in performing composers who have remained on the fringe of the main repertoire. He therefore regularly includes in his concert programmes composers such as Novak, Martin, Emmanuel, Roger-Ducasse and many others, alongside more familiar names. 

Patrick has released two CDs with works by Schumann, Brahms, Novak, and Tchesnokov. He was originally trained in Paris, where he studied in the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional de Paris with Billy Eidi and also had lessons with Nadine Wright, Joaquin Soriano, Ventislav Yankov, and Eric Heidsieck. He is laureate of the international competitions of Valencia, Toledo, Grosseto, Epinal, and CFRPM in Paris.

Refreshments available during the interval

Later Event: February 8
Robin Michael (cello)