Friday 4 March 2022

Back in the Spotlight

The Solem Quartet at Spotlight Chamber Concerts in December 2021
The Solem Quartet at Spotlight Chamber Concerts in December 2021

Clarinettist Anthony Friend started Spotlight Chamber Concerts in 2020 as a direct result of the pandemic. At a time when concerts indoors were not possible, there was an imaginative series of chamber music concerts in the bandstand in Wandsworth Park. Since then, they moved indoors to St John's Waterloo, again with the format of the concerts responding to circumstances but concentrating on the music.

For their Spring 2022 season, Spotlight Chamber Concerts are at Cecil Sharp House from 8 to 24 March 2022. Each concert lasts something over an hour, beginning at 8pm. As before, the audience is seated in the dark and in the round with dramatic lighting centred only on the performers, enabling the audience to focus solely on the immersive experience of live music.

For the opening concert, violinist Leia Zhu, who made her debut as soloist with the LSO and Sir Simon Rattle earlier this year at the age of 14, is joined by pianist Benjamin Engeli for Beethoven, Szymanowski, Faure and Sarasate. Then Anthony Friend joins the Solem Quartet for a double bill of Mendelssohn and Coleridge Taylor, the latter's lovely Clarinet Quintet written as challenge from his teacher Stanford to write something not directly influenced by Brahms' Clarinet Quintet

Violinist Rachel Podger is joined by Christopher Glynn on fortepiano for sonatas by Beethoven and Mozart,  the two having recently recorded a disc of Mozart sonatas. Still in a period performance world, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment's Night Shift series normally takes concerts to lively (even rowdy) non traditional environments. This time the venue will be quieter (we presume) and OAE Soloists will be performing Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, plus music by Handel, Vivaldi and Purcell.

The series concludes on 24 March, with just one performer. French cellist Bruno Philippe will be playing three of Bach's Cello Suites. His recording of the complete suites is being released later this year and this will be a chance to hear a major young performer in this music live.

Full details from the Spotlight Chamber Concerts website.

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