Monday, 22 February 2016

Aldeburgh Festival 2016 - Messiaen's birds, Bartok's Mikrocosmos and circus Illuminations

This year's Aldeburgh Festival is Pierre-Laurent Aimard's last as artistic director. He will be playing Messiaen's complete Catalogue d'Oiseaux over four concerts from sunrise to midnight at Snape Maltings and RSPB Minismere. Another major work is Illuminations a new staging by Struan Leslie which mixes music and contemporary circus performance, with Sarah Tyanan, the Aurora Orchestra and Nicholas Collon performing Britten's Les Illuminations, Young Apollo and music by Debussy and John Adams. For the final day of the festival Bartok's complete Mikrocosmos will be played, six volumes, 153 pieces, performed by pianists ranging from Young Suffolk pianists, Aldeburgh Young Musicians to Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Hakon Astbo, Emanuel Ax, Lorenzo Soules and Tamara Stefanovich.

The featured composers this year are Julian Anderson (who also gives the Hesse Lecture on The Courage of our Convictions: self-belief in modern music), Benedict Mason and Rebecca Saunders. And there is a residency from French ensemble Les Siecles and their conductor Francois-Xavier Roth, playing music from Bach and Rameau to Berg and Steve Reich. Three concerts juxtapose music by Britten and Tippett, with performers including tenors Ian Bostridge, Toby Spence and Robert Murray, pianists Julius Drake, Julian Milfor and Stephen Osborne, guitarist Sean Shibe, the Arcadia Quartet, the Heath Quartet.

John Eliot Gardiner, the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists will be performing Bach's St Matthew Passion.

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