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CANCELLED – Tom Poster piano, Sacconi String Quartet and Andrew Marshall double bass

TOM POSTER piano
SACCONI STRING QUARTET
Ben Hancox and Hannah Dawson violins
Robin Ashwell viola, Cara Berridge cello
ANDREW MARSHALL double bass

Beethoven    Piano Sonata in E minor Op 90
Beethoven    String Quartet in B flat Op 18 No 6
Beethoven arr. Lachner    Piano Concerto No 5 in E flat Op 73 ‘Emperor’

The opening concert of the 2020 Leamington Music Festival sets the scene beautifully for our celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday, bringing together the composer’s piano, chamber and orchestral works, although perhaps in a way you have never heard before. The piano sonata with which we begin the Festival was written in 1814 – the year the Royal Pump Rooms was built.

Tom Poster’s superb performance of Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet with the Aronowitz Ensemble in last year’s Festival proved that he is a piano force to be reckoned with. He is joined by the Sacconi Quartet, which embarks on its 20th-anniversary tour next year, and double bassist Andrew Marshall for the Emperor Concerto which should certainly begin the weekend with a bang!

Tickets: £25 and £20 reserved central block, £15 unreserved sides.
£1 Student Standby

Festival Saver Ticket available – call Leamington Music office on 01926 497000 for more details.

Aronowitz Ensemble

Magnus Johnston and Marije Johnston violins, Tom Hankey and Rosalind Ventris violas
Guy Johnston and Pierre Doumenge cellos, Tom Poster piano

Strauss Sextet from Capriccio Op 85
Shostakovich Piano Quintet in G minor Op 57
Tchaikovsky Souvenir de Florence Op 70

This is the Leamington debut of one of the best young string ensembles in the country, joined by their pianist Tom Poster for one of Shostakovich’s most powerful works. With the charming sextet from Strauss’s opera Capriccio and Tchaikovsky’s rousing Souvenir de Florence, this is a true Festival programme. Following its sell-out debut at St John’s Smith Square, and subsequent invitation to join the BBC’s New Generation Artists scheme, the Ensemble has maintained a busy schedule of engagements across the UK and beyond – including appearances at the Wigmore Hall, the Aldeburgh, Bath, Cheltenham and Spoleto Festivals and the BBC Proms – performing a vast range of repertoire: familiar, neglected and new. Magnus and Marije Johnston are known to Leamington audiences as one half of the Navarra String Quartet which opened last year’s Winter Season. Joining his brother and sister-in-law in the Ensemble is cellist Guy Johnston, winner of the BBC Young Musician of the Year award in 2000, and pianist Tom Poster who won the Keyboard section of the BBC competition in the same year.

Tickets: £24 and £19 reserved, £14 unreserved sides.

Concert generously supported by Margaret Goode

Taylor MacLennan flute, Adéla Ševčíková violin, Anna Barsegjana viola, Idlir Shyti cello

Schubert String Trio in B flat D581
Klein String Trio
Feld Nocturne
Mozart Flute Quartet in A K298

Four young musicians who met, following their studies, in the Southbank Sinfonia bookend charming works by Schubert and Mozart with two Czech works. Gideon Klein, who was born in 1919, was possibly the most talented of all the Terezin composers to perish in Auschwitz and this Trio, which has been played several times in Leamington, is a wonderful example of his genius. Jindřich Feld (1925-2007) taught composition at the Prague Conservatory and had posts abroad in Australia, various European countries, Japan and USA and was very active after the Velvet Revolution. The musicians come from Scotland, Czech Republic, Latvia and Albania – a truly European line-up which we must continue to encourage.

Tickets: £16 reserved, £13 unreserved sides.

Concert supported by the Low-Beer Trust

Martinů String Quartet & Gemma Rosefield cello

Lubomír Havlák and Libor Kaňka violins
Zbyněk Paďourek viola, Jitka Vlašánková cello

Mozart Divertimento in D K136
Glazunov Quintet in A Op 39
Schubert Quintet in C D956

The Martinů String Quartet returns to Leamington following an outstanding concert at the end of November and joins up again with Gemma Rosefield to repeat their striking interpretation of Schubert’s ever popular Quintet and to introduce the audience to the Quintet by Glazunov, written in 1892, during the golden age of romantic Russian music. The concert begins with Mozart’s evergreen, Divertimento in D, written in 1772 when the great composer was just 16 years old and already held the post of Court Concertmaster to Hieronymus Coloredo, Prince Archbishop of Salzburg.

Tickets: £24 and £19 reserved, £14 unreserved sides.

Concert generously supported by Paul & Jane Watts

Andrey Gugnin piano

Tchaikovsky Dumka Op 59
Scriabin Sonata No 2 in G sharp minor Op 19 ‘Sonata Fantasy’
Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition

Introduced by Tasmin Little in the opening Festival concert, Moscow-trained Andrey Gugnin gives an all Russian programme, ending with Mussorgsky’s great Pictures at an Exhibition, originally written for piano solo and which Andrey has made a highly acclaimed recording for Steinway & Son’s own label. Andrey has won more than a dozen competition prizes, including Sydney in 2017, appeared in many leading festivals like Verbier, and has played under maestro Gergiev with the Mariinsky and London Philharmonic Orchestras.

Tickets: £16 reserved, £13 unreserved sides.

Roderick Williams baritone & Ensemble 360

James Pillai horn, Benjamin Nabarro and Claudia Ajmone-Marsan violins,
Rachel Roberts viola, Gemma Rosefield cello, Elena Hull double bass, Tim Horton piano

Howard Skempton Man and Bat
Howard Skempton The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Howard Skempton’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner was first performed by Roderick Williams with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and then taken on by him and Ensemble 360 for performances in Sheffield, the Wigmore Hall and the 2017 Leamington Music Festival. The setting of D.H. Lawrence’s Man and Bat by Howard followed in July 2017, premièred in Sheffield, and this will be its first performance here in Leamington.

Tickets: £24 and £19 reserved, £14 unreserved sides.

Concert sponsored by Presto Classical

 

Song of Farewell

Director Nick Gray introduces this screening of his classic documentary of the true story of Delius and his amanuensis Eric Fenby, introduced by the film-maker. It is a twentieth century legend of the young man from Scarborough assisting the Bradford-born, blind and paralysed composer complete his life’s work. The film features a contribution from Yehudi Menuhin and an appearance of Tasmin Little when she was a student at the Yehudi Menuhin School. Tea and cake available afterwards with a chance to meet Nick Gray.

Tickets: £6

Raphael Wallfisch cello & John York piano

Schubert arr. Piatigorsky Introduction, Theme and Variations in B flat D968a
Prokofiev Ballade Op 15
Delius Cello Sonata
Schubert Sonata in A minor ‘Arpeggione’ D821

Regular visitors since the 1990s, Raphael Wallfisch and John York were celebrating 35 years as a duo on their last visit to the Festival in 2017 and Raphael returned in the Autumn to play the Bach cello suites in a fund-raising concert in Warwick. This concert begins with an arrangement of Schubert’s music by the great American cellist, Igor Piatigorsky, with whom Raphael studied, and adds some exhilarating Prokofiev to the Delius Sonata and Schubert’s ‘Arpeggione’.

Tickets: £16 reserved, £13 unreserved sides.

Concert generously supported by Peter Glanfield

Fitzwilliam String Quartet

Lucy Russell and Marcus Barcham Stevens violins
Alan George viola, Sally Pendlebury cello

Schubert Sehnsucht D636
Schubert Quartettsatz (ii: Andante) D703
Schubert Gute Nacht from ‘Winterreise’
Roderick Williams Fremd bin ich (première)
Delius Late Swallows
Schubert Quartet in G D887

The Fitzwilliam Quartet returns to Leamington with a concert that reflects three strands of the Festival programme. It involves Roderick Williams, described as a national treasure by BBC Music Magazine, as performer and composer, with the première of a work he has written specially for the Quartet and which is a further extension of his Schubert crusade that has seen him perform all three song cycles for Leamington Music. The Quartet in turn champions Schubert’s quartets, in particular the greatest and last of them all in G major. Delius is also part of their mission and leads us to the BBC documentary to be shown on Sunday 5 May in the afternoon.

Tickets: £24 and £19 reserved, £14 unreserved sides.

Talk by Professor Brian Newbould with Fitzwilliam String Quartet

Brian Newbould, the Schubert scholar who has “completed” the ‘Unfinished’ Symphonies Nos 7, 8 and 10, will talk about the String Quartet in G D887 to be played in the evening concert and, joined by the Fitzwilliam Quartet, will also talk about the Quartettsatz D703 and the fragmentary Andante that follows it, which will be played in his completion.

Tickets: £8 including tea and cake.