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Friday, 24 May 2013

Fantasy and fairytale by the sea - Lewes Chamber Music festival

Lewes Chamber Music Festival logo
The Lewes Chamber Music Festival returns next month (7 - 9 June 2013), which will be the festival's second year. The theme of this year's festival is Fantasy and Fairytale, with music by Beethoven, Mozart and Schubert alongside lesser known works by Dohnanyi and Catoire, as well as Janacek's On an Overgrown Path and the world premiere of a new piece by Kate Whitley. Performers include the Clean String Quartet, baritone Jonathan McGovern, cellists, Amy Norrington and Guy Johnston, pianist Tom Poster, clarinettist Matt Hunt as well as violinist Beatrice Philips, who is also the artistic director. Actor Sam West will be providing readings. The concerts are held in church venues across Lewes and in Firle village, providing a more intimate experience than a formal concert hall.


The festival opens on Friday 7 June with Haydn's Piano Trio in A flat Major HobXV, Beethoven's Clarinet Trio opus 11 in B flat and Dohnanyi's Piano Quintet opus 1. Later that night there is a rare performance of Georgy Catoire's String Quintet opus 16, which dates from 1901 and is by the Russian born, German trained Catoire (1861 - 1926).

Saturday morning sees the premiere of Kate Whitley's Three pieces for violin and piano paired with music by Bridge, Janacek and Schubert. In the afternoon there are duos by Mozart and by Bartok, also Mozart's Clarinet Quintet, plus Pimms and strawberries! That evening Janacek's On an overgrown path is performed in an arrangement for clarinet, string quartet and organ, with Samuel West providing readings.

The festival moves to Vienna for its first two concerts on Sunday 9 June, with music by both Viennese schools, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, Schoenberg, Berg and Webern, as well as Korngold; including some of Schoenberg's early lieder and Mozart's Kegelstatt Trio.  The festival finale features Weber's Clarinet Quintet, music for violin and piano by Catoire and by Szymanowski, plus Mendelssohn's Piano Trio and Faure's Piano Quartet.

A feature of the festival is the way it uses a pool of young players to mix and match performers during and between concerts, giving you a chance to hear varied combinations of instruments and to catch performers in a variety of different roles over the weekend. They are playing some interesting and challenging music, in attractive surroundings. Let's hope the weather is kind too!

Further information from the Lewes Chamber Music Festival website and you can see a trailer for the festival on YouTube.

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