J & A Beare Ltd loan rare Stradivarius cello to Manchester Camerata’s principal cellist Hannah Roberts

30 - Hannah Roberts (credit Tony Redmond)A rare cello, made circa 1696 by the celebrated Antonio Stradivari, has been loaned to Manchester Camerata’s principal cellist Hannah Roberts for the orchestra’s first performance in the newly refurbished RNCM Concert Hall on 11th February.

One of very few cellos by the master to be rediscovered in the last fifty years, J & A Beare Ltd, who loaned the cello, believe that the instrument had been in London since the nineteenth century.  It is similar in outline to the cellos made by Bernard Simon Fendt from the early 1800s and they surmise that Fendt may well have seen this Strad cello in London at around that time. 

Simon Morris, Director, J & A Beare Ltd said: “Having the opportunity to see one of Antonio Stradivari’s cellos ‘in the flesh’, would undoubtedly have an influence on Fendt (indeed on any maker) and particularly at a time when photographs and other media were simply not available.”

Principal Cello, Hannah Roberts, performs Elgar’s elegiac Cello Concerto no.1 – considered to be one of the most popular concerti of the 20th century. Mozart’s penultimate symphony (no.40), brings the evening to a dramatic conclusion.

Manchester Camerata Bizet, Elgar, Mozart Wednesday 11 February 2015 7:30 pm

RNCM, Manchester

Bizet      Symphony in C

Elgar      Cello Concerto in E minor Op.85       

Mozart Symphony no.40, K.550

Gábor Takács-Nagy  conductor

Hannah Roberts cello

Astar is Born

60,000 babies across Scotland take their first step on a life-long musical journey.

From October 2012 every single child born in Scotland will begin a lifelong musical journey when they receive a specially-commissioned CD of Scottish songs, nursery rhymes and children’s favourite classical pieces. 

Thanks to a groundbreaking initiative between the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO), Creative Scotland, National Records of Scotland and Association of Registrars of Scotland, every baby born between 15 October 2012 and 14 October 2013 will receive a copy of Astar when their parents register the birth and receive their birth certificate.  

Astar (Gaelic for journey) was recorded by the RSNO, RSNO Chorus and new Music Director Peter Oundjian to introduce music into the lives of 60,000 Scottish families and to help parents learn, play and rest with their new arrivals. 

Former STV golden girl, and mum of two, Sarah Heaney joined a group of toddlers from Suffolk House Nursery, Edinburgh to help launch the CD: “I think this is a wonderful project to be involved in and for our family music has always played an enormous part. My kids, from day one, have been surrounded by music of some kind or other, from starting off banging pots and pans to taking part in musical groups. 

“Music is a universal language and has help my kids develop a real confidence, getting involved with other kids and is a fantastic way of expressing and exploring their creativity. And for parents there are benefits too. If you are lucky enough to go to a toddlers music group it’s a fabulous way of meeting other parents and the beauty of music is that it stays with you your whole life, it’s in everything and its everywhere.”

Listening to beautiful music has a direct impact on how much your baby’s brain grows. It can put them in a great mood, help with communicating, coordination and bonding, and supports their first steps towards a life-long love of music. 

Astar contains a variety of music cleverly organised into three sections: Wake, Play and Nap. The sleeve notes contain top tips for enjoying music with newborns, fun games connected to each track, and the lyrics to some of Scotland’s best loved nursery rhymes: Ally Bally Bee, The Little Horses and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. 

Performed by the RSNO and RSNO Junior Chorus, with Music Director Peter Oundjian, the repertoire reflects the wonderful power and sound of a symphony orchestra – a completely new experience for many families. Scottish classics such as The Skye Boat Song, Eightsome Reels and Three Craws Sat Upon a Wa’ snuggle alongside timeless masterpieces by Tchaikovsky, Mozart and Debussy. 

RSNO Music Director Peter Oundjian: “When I was an infant my godfather gave me a tiny record player. I would place it under the family piano and put on my prized recording of Peter and the Wolf. It became my sanctuary, a place where I knew I could find joy. I have found that the power and beauty of music can truly transform lives and I seriously hope that the recipients of Astar enjoy many hours of shared pleasure to this wonderful music.”

Music is the most universal of all art forms and the RSNO plans to support parents and carers in building music and creativity into their everyday lives, and to nurture a life-long love of music for themselves, their baby and the rest of their family. Opportunities for babies and their parents to participate in follow-on workshops are being planned across the country from 2013 and all will be invited to sign up to the Orchestra’s Under 5s initiative.