Monday, 1 April 2013

Bach and beyond - April to June highlight at Kings Place

Kings Place
Spring sees Bach continue to be unwrapped at Kings Place, with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Sixteen and many more. But also, a week of concerts, films and talks celebrates Wagner's centenary. Along the way we have Tasmin Little exploring the history of the violin, and exploration of the influence of Roma (Gypsy) music on classical music, some rather tempting chamber music and, of course, varied talks, comedy and goodness knows what else.

The main stream remains Bach Unwrapped with some highly tempting concerts. John Butt directs the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in Bach's Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1 and 2, plus a pair of cantatas (19 April) and they return in May for Brandenburg Concertos 3 and 6 (17 May). Whilst the Aurora Orchestra explore Bach arrangements by Mozart, Kodaly and Busoni, with Bach influenced music by Schnittke (20 April). The Keller Quartet performs the string quartet version of The Art of Fugue (1 May). Katharine Fuge joins Ashley Solomons and Florilegium for further cantatas (4 May), then Florilegium give us A Musical Offering (12 June).  The Sixteen have a residency in May, performing three concerts, with programmes of Bach's motets, Lutheran Masses and cantatas. (15, 16, 18 May). There are further cantatas in June when Carolyn Sampson joins the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields (15 June)

On the chamber music side, the Fitzwilliam Quartet and friends have an attractive programme of Delius, Haydn, Richard Strauss and Tchaikovsky (7 April).  Pianist Carole Presland joins the Chillingirian Quartet for Elgar's Piano Quintet, plus quartets by Beethoven and Haydn (April 14).

And earlier that week violinist Tasmin Little (with John Lenehan, piano, and Nicholas Korth, horn),  explores violin music in three concerts stretching from Bach to Bartok, via Brahms, Schubert, Ravel and more (11, 12, 13 April). One of the advantages of the Kings Place format is the way it gives artists the space to programme a group of concerts in one single theme, rather than trying to cram things into a single evening.

Another excellent example of this is violinist Priya Mitchell's group of concerts. Inspired by her own roots she explores the influence of the Roma on European music from Vivaldi to Enescu taking in Enescu, Brahms, Sarasate, Ligeti and many more, her guest performers include the Dhoad Gypsies of Rajasthan (25, 26, 27 April).

At the end June attention moves from Bach to Wagner with a series of concerts commemorating his centenary. There are films of Tristan und Isolde, from Glyndebourne (29 June) and Die Meistersinger, from Bayreuth (30 June), Wesendonck Lieder with Janice Watson (26 June), Llyr Williams playing Wagner's piano works (yes they do exist), plus Liszt's Wagner transcriptions (27 June), the Aurora Orchestra in the inevitable Siegfried Idyll (28 June), and three illustrated talks on Wagner in Performance (29, 30 June) all with a very impressive line-up of speakers.

One or two spoken word events caught my eye. On Monday 15 April, there is an evening of contemporary poetry on the subject of The Trojan Horse with Simon Armitage, Simon Mundy and Bettany Hughes. And David Harsent, Jack Johns, Sam Swainsbury and Lucy Tregear explore Rimbaud and Verlaine in London on 20 May.

Elsewhere on this blog:

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