Grand start to big year for Bedford Music Club

Carolyn Sampson
Carolyn Sampson

Bedford Music Club begins its 50th anniversary season next week with a performance from a leading soprano.

Carolyn Sampson is known as a consummate recitalist, equally at home on the concert and opera stages. She has enjoyed notable successes in the UK as well as throughout Europe and the US.

The concert includes Vivaldi’s Cello sonata in B flat, Purcell’s Sonata in G minor and Boismortier’s Trio in A minor.

After performing a programme of The Genius of Purcell at Wigmore Hall last year with baroque ensemble The King’s ConsortOpera Today said: “Sampson looked and sounded the epitome of elegance and expressiveness. Her smoothly polished soprano is a perfect fit for Purcell’s melodic fecundity. The tone was clear as a bell, the diction superb. While Sampson’s tone is unblemished it is never colourless: she imbued the clean line with judicious expressive radiance.”

The event promises to a memorable start to a landmark season. It was 50 years ago that a group of Bedford music-lovers got together to promote concerts of classical chamber music, and they set the standard high from the start.

In the first two decades there were visits from already established artists such as Paul Tortelier, Janet Baker, Julian Bream, Yehudi Menuhin, Daniel Barenboim, Nigel Kennedy and Evelyn Glennie. More recently the club hosted multiple award winner Paul Lewis, who has already been rated as one of the finest pianists this country has produced.

When the BBC Young Musician of the Year began 40 years ago the club was fortunate that one of the competition’s organisers and club committee member Roy Tipping, was able to engage several early winners such as Michael Hext, Nicholas Daniel, Emma Johnson, Freddie Kempf and Leon McCawley at the start of their musical careers.

More recently the club has welcomed winners Jennifer Pyke, Guy Johnston, Chloe Hanslip and Martin James Bartlett and finalist Benjamin Grosvenor, all of whom performed at a special BBC Prom this summer at the Royal Albert Hall to mark that 40th Anniversary.

In 2007 Bedford Music Club was among the first promoters to recognise the talent of the Renaissance vocal ensemble Stile Antico, who have returned twice more, due to public demand. A handful of the club’s original members still attend concerts.

Next week’s performance, at which Sampson will be joined by The King’s Consort, takes place at Bunyan Meeting in Mill Street on Thursday October 11 from 7.45pm. Tickets cost £18 or £5 for students. Call 01234 261811 to book or buy tickets on the door.