Alasdair Beatson Piano
Royal Northern Sinfonia
A performance of Schubert’s Trout Quintet, carefully tailored for people with dementia and their families or carers so that everyone can enjoy classical music in an environment that is comfortable and supportive.
The performance will last approximately 45 minutes with no interval.
This happy and uplifting music reflects the mood of 22-year-old Franz Schubert after leaving the bustling streets of Vienna behind for a summer holiday in Upper Austria’s mountains and meadows. Life seemed full of promise for the young composer in that summer of 1819. His name was at last being recognised in Vienna, his many songs were proving popular – and this break would open his eyes to new, less hectic but inspirational surroundings.
Schubert was soon introduced to Sylvester Paumgartner, a wealthy amateur cellist who arranged chamber music recitals at his home. Paumgartner seized on the opportunity to invite Schubert to compose something for his five Hummel supporters that would include variations on one of his favourite Schubert lieder, Dei Forelle (‘The Trout’).
In preparing for this new commission Schubert realised the addition to the ensemble of a double bass, in tandem with the cello, would enable a strong bass line to support the music. This gave Schubert more freedom in his writing for piano, much of which is focused in the instrument’s higher register with both hands of the pianist now at liberty to play the same melodic line an octave apart.
Schubert, who completed the A major quintet back in Vienna that autumn, opted for the four-movement structure of a sonata but added a fifth movement – which he placed fourth – of variations on his celebrated Die Forelle lied. This would make the style of the piece seem more like a divertimento – a suite of light recreational music – if we were to overlook the craftsmanship of its construction.
Here are some of the ways that this performance is dementia friendly:
- There will be additional signage around our building, with symbols and pictures.
- There will be additional staff on hand to help.
- The house lights will be up slightly.
- A quiet room will be available before, during and after the performance.
- The seating arrangements will be flexible and you can move seats during the performance.
- Audience members are able to move around the hall or come in and out.
If a familiarisation visit would be helpful, or you have questions regarding wheelchair access or disabled parking, we would be very happy to help. Just contact our Box Office on 0191 443 4661 for more information, or take a virtual tour on our website here.