Saturday 2 September 2023

Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective make a welcome return to the Lammermuir Festival, here Tom Poster introduces the music

Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective
The Lammermuir Festival returns on 7 September 2023 with 12 days of music making in East Lothian and amongst the artists performing are Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective who have a three-concert residency. Here, the ensemble's pianist and co-founder Tom Poster introduces the ensemble's programmes.

It's been a busy year for Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective, and one of the things we've been most looking forward to is our upcoming three-concert residency at Lammermuir Festival. We'll be appearing in Musselburgh on 11 and 12 September, and in Dirleton on 14 September, and our three programmes contain a signature Kaleidoscope blend of well-loved classics alongside pieces we passionately feel deserve to be heard far more than they are.

We're bringing ten musicians to Lammermuir, and we've assembled a dream team of dear friends and colleagues, many of whom are making return visits to the festival. Violinist Elena Urioste and I founded Kaleidoscope six years ago, and joining us for these concerts will be four extraordinary wind players - Armand Djikoloum (oboe), Matthew Hunt (clarinet), Amy Harman (bassoon) and Ben Goldscheider (horn) - and our amazing string colleagues Savitri Grier (violin), Rosalind Ventris (viola), Laura van der Heijden (cello), and Ruohua Li (double bass).

This line-up has given us the luxury of programming a vast range of music across our three concerts - each piece we've chosen has been hand-picked by the musicians involved as a favourite work, scored for all manner of instrumental combinations from trio to nonet. I often think about the fact that as concertgoers we spend much of the time only hearing a small fraction of the wonderful music that has been written across the centuries, and pieces for unusual combinations of instruments are often unfairly neglected for logistical reasons.

For some of our audience members, there may be unfamiliar composer names on the programme, and we look forward to introducing these works in the concerts and explaining why we fell under their spell. One of the most gratifying things we find is that so often our audiences express surprise and delight that they loved the lesser-known pieces best of all. We will never stop playing Mozart and Schubert (indeed, both composers feature in our Lammermuir concerts), but we hope audiences will also enjoy discovering the music of Carl Stamitz (a contemporary of Haydn), August Klughardt (a close friend of Liszt), and Nicola LeFanu, whose After Farrera - commissioned by Kaleidoscope's horn player Ben Goldscheider - will receive its world premiere in our Dirleton concert.

If I had to choose one personal highlight from each concert, I might pick Coleridge-Taylor's Nonet for winds, strings and piano (11 September), a youthful work full of joie-de-vivre which we've recently performed at the BBC Proms; Reynaldo Hahn's exquisite Piano Quintet (12 September), which inhabits a world close to Fauré, but is perhaps even more sumptuous; and Korngold's extraordinary Suite for two violins, cello and piano left hand (14 September), which pays tribute to Bach, Viennese waltzes and Brahms, and has one of the most magical slow movements ever written. Elena has been waxing lyrical about this piece for years, but it took me a long time to dare to tackle it - it's a strange feeling for a pianist to learn such a virtuosic work using only one hand, but having finally done so, I can report that it's one of the most exhilarating pieces I've ever played.

We can't wait to be in this beautiful part of the world, exploring and celebrating so much of the chamber music that inspires and delights us all.

Dirleton Kirk (Photo Robin Mitchell)
Dirleton Kirk where Kaleidescope Chamber Collective give their final concert at the Lammermuir Festival (Photo Robin Mitchell)

Kaleidescope Chamber Collective perform at the Lammermuir Festival on 11 and 12 September at North Esk Church, Musselburgh, and on 14 September at Dirleton Kirk, Dirleton.

Full details of the festival's programme from their website. 

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