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Oliver Nelson & Vasilis Rakitzis

15 February @ 12:45 pm 1:45 pm

£7 Adults

Tickets on the door (cash or card). Under 18s and carers go free

Doors open at 12:15 pm

Aylesbury Lunchtime Music

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St Mary the Virgin

Church Street
Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire HP20 2JJ United Kingdom
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Oliver Nelson & Vasilis Rakitzis


Oliver Nelson


Notes on the performers

Oliver Nelson

Oliver Nelson MA (Mus) (Open) FRSM CCAD was born in Glasgow and began learning the violin at the age of six. He gained a music scholarship to Canford School and an exhibition to the Royal Academy of Music. During his time at the Academy, Oliver studied the violin with Xue-Wei and conducting with Denise Ham and Colin Metters, graduating with distinction in the Fellowship diploma, and a further distinction in his MMus degree. His achievements include winning the Academy Concerto Competition, appearing as leader and soloist with the Academy String Orchestra, and the building of his concerto repertoire with numerous British orchestras.

Oliver has since been in high demand as a duo recitalist with some of Britain’s finest pianists including Andrew Ball, Julian Jacobson, Bela Hartman, Nigel Hutchison, Richard Ormrod and Vasileios Rakitzis, with recent performances ranging from St.Martin-in-the-Fields in London to Chichester Cathedral. Oliver is also a busy chamber musician, both as an artist in ‘cellist Jamie Walton’s North York Moors Chamber Music Festival and as a member of Trio Damira with Hartman and Mischa Lezdkan.

Vasilis Rakitzis

Greek soloist and chamber musician, Vasilis Rakitzis, is a Doctor of Musical Arts* from City University London and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music and the Conservatories of Athens and Amsterdam. A pupil of Popi and Maria Efstratiadis, Martin Roscoe, Naum Grubert, and Caroline Palmer, he also participated in masterclasses with Paul Badura-Skoda, Boris Berman, Martino Tirimo, and Leonidas Kavakos.

Vasilis regularly appears in piano recitals and chamber music concerts in Greece and England, and he has also performed in the Netherlands, Germany, and Italy. As a concerto soloist he has performed with the State Orchestras of Athens and Thessaloniki, the National Radio Symphony Orchestra of Greece (E.R.T.), and the Symphony Orchestra of the City of Athens. Vasilis was a prizewinner in national and international competitions, and he was awarded the prestigious ‘Eleni Tim. Mykoniou’ prize by the Academy of Athens. He currently resides in London and also teaches piano at Christ’s Hospital School in Horsham, and The Royal School and the Hindhead Music Centre in Haslemere (Surrey, UK).


Programme notes

Giuseppe Tartini

Sonata in G minor, ‘The Devil’s Trill’
  1. Larghetto ma non troppo
  2. Allegro moderato
  3. Andante
  4. Allegro assai — Andante — Allegro assai

The Devil’s Trill Sonata is a work for solo violin (with figured bass accompaniment) by Giuseppe Tartini (1692–1770). It is the composer’s best-known composition, notable for its technically difficult passages.

Tartini allegedly told the French astronomer Jérôme Lalande that he had dreamed that the devil had appeared to him and had asked to be Tartini’s servant and teacher. At the end of the music lesson, Tartini handed the devil his violin to test his skill, which the devil began to play with virtuosity, delivering an intense and magnificent performance. So singularly beautiful and executed with such superior taste and precision was the Devil’s performance, that the composer felt his breath taken away.

Source: Wikipedia

Ludwig van Beethoven

Violin Sonata No. 5 in F major, Op. 24, ‘Spring Sonata’
  1. Allegro
  2. Adagio molto espressivo
  3. Scherzo: Allegro molto
  4. Rondo: Allegro ma non troppo

The Violin Sonata No. 5 in F major, Op. 24, is a four movement work for violin and piano by Ludwig van Beethoven. It was first published in 1801. The work is commonly known as the Spring Sonata, although the name “Spring” was apparently given to it after Beethoven’s death. The sonata was dedicated to Count Moritz von Fries, a patron to whom Beethoven also dedicated two other works of the same year—the String Quintet in C major, Op. 29 and the Violin Sonata No. 4—as well as his later Symphony No. 7 in A major.

Source: Wikipedia

Malcolm Arnold

‘Five Pieces’, Op.84
  1. Prelude
  2. Aubade
  3. Waltz
  4. Ballad
  5. Moto perpetuo

The Five Pieces were written in 1964 for Yehudi Menuhin to play as encores on an American tour, and reflect both his musical character and the breadth of his musical interests. The ‘Prelude’ opens flamboyantly with a fine violinistic flourish rising from the G string to the heights, while the piano supplies a vigorous counter-theme. The violin meditates briefly on the lyrical potential of the opening figure before the twinned themes return. The ‘Aubade’, unlike most of its dreamy species, is a light-footed scherzo freely based on an Indian raga and characterized by flattened second and raised fourth degrees. There is a touch of parody in the tiny ‘Waltz’ with its neatly turned gestures, soulful chromaticisms and deux temps rhythms, but none in the ‘Ballad’: a sustained and expressive violin melody repeated note-for-note over plain and expectable syncopated harmonies (the tune itself is not really so simple—note the minor-third internal echoes and the unusual six-plus-eight bar structure). The last piece pays tribute to the art of Charlie Parker—not with the unstaunchable flow of semiquavers of the conventional moto perpetuo but with a slippery, eel-like tune which contradicts the pounding bass beat with its cross-rhythms and syncopations and finally explodes in a firework burst of cadential flourishes.

Source: Hugo Cole