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17th July, 3pm
Ben Tarlton & Robin Green
The Friends' Recital Hall at Queen Elizabeth's School

Ludwig van Beethoven, Sonata in F for Cello and Piano

Nadia Boulanger, Three Pieces for Cello and Piano

Sergei Rachmaninoff, Sonata for Cello and Piano


First off we spoke to Ben about the music he'll be performing...

What has been your favourite musical experience so far?


I have many fond memories of my different musical experiences, including teaching and being a Festival Director, as well as performing, but one particular occasion comes to mind. I was playing in the orchestra at Guildhall for a project conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas and I’ll never forget the first rehearsal he came to conduct after a few days of rehearsing with a different conductor. His charisma and enthusiasm for the piece we were rehearsing (which I think was Stravinsky Symphony in 3 movements), just magnetised and electrified the sound of the orchestra in one sweeping upbeat gesture. It was as if we could all transparently see and hear exactly his vision and feeling for the piece, in a way that compelled the whole orchestra to be swept up in his excitement, changing the sound immediately.


Tell us a bit about the programme you’ll be performing. Why are you playing these works?


Although I’ve known and loved these works for many years, they are all new to my repertoire. I find the process of getting a piece in your blood and soul a deeply enjoyable one and giving it the space and time to allow them to become a part of you is vital. I’ve often found myself whistling the melodies or tiny fragments whilst walking down the street, especially the Beethoven with its witty and catchy motifs. 


Having a programme that is varied in atmosphere, style and character is something I always consider when choosing the repertoire and the exquisite Nadia Boulanger pieces in between the two giant cello sonatas presents an opportunity to be briefly transported into a world of ethereal mystery. 


If our audience wanted to listen to some other music related to your programme, what would you recommend?


Certainly I would send them straight to the music all of these composers have written for piano, whether it be short pieces, sonatas or concerti.


As a more light-hearted way to get to know you, if you were a sandwich, what flavour would it be and why?


Ooh, tricky one! I think it would probably have to be a BLT as that’s definitely the one I’ve consumed the most in my life and has a nice mixture of softness and crunch in the flavour.

And then to Robin...

What brought you and Ben together?

Ben and I are colleagues from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. We played a concert together at the beginning of the season, and it was a great pleasure, especially to play such great repertoire.

Who or what have been the greatest influences on your musical career so far?

There are too many influences to name here. I was very fortunate to learn from so many incredible people, and aim to be generous to pass down as much as possible to the next generation.

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?

There are many great halls around the world. I guess the obvious answer is the Wigmore Hall. It has such a special quality of sound. But the halls you are not expecting much can end up surprising you. I once played Strauss violin sonata in Oaxaca, Mexico. We were expecting 300 people, and over a 1000 turned up! These memories stay with you.

As a more light-hearted way to get to know you, if you were a sandwich, what flavour would it be and why?

A burrito. Because I'm so wrapped up in my own thoughts.

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