Minerva Ensemble maintains Chichester musical tradition

The Minerva Ensemble
The Minerva Ensemble

A tradition going back nearly 30 years continues when Chichester-born cellist Ben Rogerson returns to the city to stage a summer festival concert with the Minerva Ensemble.

The Minerva Ensemble has always been a fluid, flexible group down the decades.

This year Ben will be joined by colleagues from the BBC Concert Orchestra to perform Schubert’s enigmatic Quartett-Satz and Beethoven’s brooding string quartet in C Minor Opus 18 No 4.

Juan Gonzalez and Cormac Brown will be on violin, Mike Briggs on viola and Ben on cello.

The concert will be on Saturday, June 22 at 1pm in St John’s Chapel, St John’s Street, Chichester.

“It all started in memory of my grandmother,” Ben explains.

“She passed away at St Wilfrid’s Hospice, and the care that they gave my grandmother was just incredible.

“St Wilfrid’s need all the money they can get.”

Ben will use the Chichester concert as a fundraiser for St Wilfrid’s and also for Chichester homeless charity Stonepillow.

The Minerva Ensemble will be the perfect way to do so.

“The Minerva has always remained fluid. It just depends who I am hanging out with, but it has always been a vehicle for me to do chamber music concerts in Chichester.

“I work with the BBC Concert Orchestra and it is really really busy at the moment.

“It is going to be a bit full on this summer, so it is good to work with people from the orchestra.

“We are doing this concert in Chichester as a lunch time concert because in the evening we have got to go off to Grange Park in West Horsley to do Porgy and Bess.”

As for the programme, Ben is delighted to offer Schubert’s Quartett-Satz.

“It was supposed to be part of a complete quartet, but he never finished it. The second movement peters out after a few bars. He abandoned the work, but it is really exciting. It is one of the later quartets. It was written on a big canvas.

“It was actually used in an episode of Morse. They played the quartet in one of the Oxford colleges and the bad guy reveals himself! There is an undercurrent to it, a dark recurrent undercurrent, and yet there is a lot of light as well.”

As for the Beethoven: “It is brooding and dramatic – as a lot of Beethoven is! He just goes from one extreme to the other on a sixpence. There is a particularly lovely movement and then the finale.

“It is one of Beethoven’s early quartets, but by that point the quartet was developed such that everybody gets a turn. You are not just chugging along accompanying the first violin.”

Tickets £15; students £7; children £5.

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