Pianist hopes to stay awake for concert

Daniel Wallington
Daniel Wallington

MUSIC falling under the umbrella of classical gets very thin on the ground in Sheffield for three months after this weekend, Bradfield Festival of Music on the outskirts of the city which begins next Saturday, June 25, notwithstanding.

This Saturday, three concerts a little more centrally include John Longstaff’s farewell after 19 years as music director of the Sheffield Symphony Orchestra when he conducts Strauss’ Don Juan, Glazunov’s Violin Concerto and Dvorák’s Slavonic Dances Op 46 at St Mark’s Church, Broomhill.

Meanwhile, at St Luke’s Church, Lodge Moor, the Endcliffe Orchestra are back in action after raising £1,000 for the South Yorkshire dementia charity Lost Chord at their last concert in January.

On this occasion they welcome a gifted young pianist Daniel Wallington from Hope Valley as the soloist in Schumann’s Piano Concerto and he is hoping to stay awake during it!

Danny, as he is known, began playing the piano at the age of seven and it was an encounter with Martin Roscoe at a Music in the Round masterclass at 14 that instilled the idea of becoming a professional pianist.

He says: “Martin said to me ‘you ARE going to do music, aren’t you?’ That was when I first thought about a career as a pianist and I’ve worked very hard at it since.”

Indeed he has: you don’t get into Chethams School of Music in Manchester without talent and not work hard when you get there. At present he is completing his A Levels at ‘Chet’s’ and begins studying at Trinity College of Music in London in September.

“I’m looking forward to performing with the Endcliffe Orchestra on Saturday and hopefully I’ll stay awake throughout the concert,” says Danny.

He explains: “The last time I performed with an orchestra in Sheffield, I fell asleep! It was at the end of a long run in a Crucible Theatre production and I was so exhausted by the final night, I rested my head on the music stand and was out cold in an instant!”

Ballet music is heard elsewhere at the concert, three movements from Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite and extracts from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker.

More information has surfaced about Ernest Tomlinson’s setting of Rollicum-Rorum in the Sheffield Chorale concert at Ecclesall Parish Church this Saturday – featured in last week’s Telegraph.

Probably best known in Finzi’s setting of Thomas Hardy’s poem The Sergeant’s Song (Rollicum-rorum is the poem’s refrain), Tomlinson, a celebrated composer of English light music, wrote it for the Chorale in 1999, dedicating it to their conductor at the time James Kirkwood.

Other vocal music on a grander scale on Saturday night can be heard at Leeds Town Hall where Opera North is putting on the first instalment of a complete Wagner Ring cycle over four years with Das Rheingold, a concert performance sung in German.

Involved in a prominent consultation role for the project is, says the company, “Dame Anne Evans, Britain’s most famous Brünnhilde” – a certain Dame Gwyneth Jones might have something to say about that!

Back in Sheffield, classical guitarist Nick Fletcher has a recital at Holy Trinity Church, Millhouses this Friday where, on Sunday, Charles Court Opera offer a programme of Gilbert and Sullivan.