Wednesday 4 May 2022

Classical music at this year's Bath Festival

Bath Festival 2022

The Bath Festival opens in just over a weeks time with a lively programme of music and books, always a great combination, from 13 to 21 May 2022 in a fine range of historic venues

The opening weekend includes the Carducci Quartet and Stephen Johnson exploring Shostakovich's life by interleaving music from his string quartets (very much a personal diary in music) with readings from his letters, whilst guitarist Sean Shibe is mixing transcriptions of Bach's lute music with an early Scottish lute manuscript and 20th-century Latin American music for guitar.

Bach's St Matthew Passion is familiar, perhaps too familiar; Bach's family referred to it as The Great Passion, and James Runcie will be talking about his research for his novel of that name, trying to recapture what it was like to encounter the work for the very first time. And pianist Jeremy Denk will be combining music from Bach's Well Tempered Clavier with readings from his autobiographical book, Every Good Boy Does Fine.

Peter Manning and the Bath Festival Orchestra are exploring the sea, with an imaginative programme of music by Takemitsu (from Japan), Daniel Temkin (from the USA), Grace Williams (from Wales), and Joey Roukens (from the Netherlands). Trumpeter Aaron Akugbo joins organist John Kitchin at Bath Abbey for a programme which moves between Bach and Telemann to Messiaen, McDowall and more. Horn player Ben Goldscheider and trumpeter Matilda Lloyd join Jason Thornton and the Bath Philharmonia for a programme that includes concertos by Mozart and Haydn, plus Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man and Janacek's Sinfonietta. These latter two will feature the combined forces of the Bath Philharmonia and the Band of the Royal Marines School of Music. Should be thrilling stuff! Epic in another way is Steve Reich's Drumming, and the Colin Currie Group will be performing it with Synergy Vocals

The festival's Rising Stars this year include cellist Laura van der Heijden, pianist Jeneba Kanneh-Mason, pianist Ariel Lanyi, violinist Irene Duval and pianist Sam Armstrong, pianist Ryan Corbett, and pianist Jonian Ilias Kadesha

Other visitors to the festival include IF Opera will be presenting a faded Parisian salon, Chez Bullier, evoking memories of classic operas. Soprano Claire Booth will be revisiting her extraordinary solo tour-de-force with Poulenc's La voix humaine performed in an intimate, secret location. Saxophonist Jess Gillam and her ensemble will be performing an eclectic programme of music by CPE Bach, John Harle, James Blake, JS Bach, Piazzolla and Will Gregory. The Tallis Scholars are exploring music by composers who worked at the Sistine Chapel from Josquin to Palestrina and of course Allegri! The Consone Quartet are joined by viola player John Crockatt for a programme that culminates in one of Mozart's wondrous string quintets.

Away from classical, there is the jazz group Empirical, Bristol-based collective Snazzback and London-based Lydian Collective, and Public Service Broadcasting.

Full details from the festival website.

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