Paxton House was filled with wonderful sounds on Sunday evening when this year’s Music at Paxton festivities were kick started.
The event has grown in stature since its first notes were played back in 2006 and this year’s programme once again brings together the talents of a wide variety of renowned musicians.
To open the 2014 Festival programme an audience favourite, Scottish pianist Alasdair Beatson, returns with two leading chamber music contemporaries, Adrian Brendel (cello) and Katharine Gowers (violin).
With a programme designed by Alasdair himself, they will perform over the first two days: Friday, July 18 and Saturday 19 July, a mix of duets and trios by Elgar, Kodaly, Ravel and Fauré, as well as Schumann’s showpiece for piano solo, Carnaval. Adrian and Alasdair introduce the Russian thread in this year’s festival with Rachmaninov’s Cello Sonata. Katharine plays Janacek’s Violin Sonata, and together they will perform Dvorak’s Dumky Trio.
For 2014, Music at Paxton adds an extra element to the programme - O’Duo (who performed at Sunday’s launch) feature as Paxton’s first percussionists. Members Oliver Cox and Owen Gunnell will lead a series of family workshops at The Maltings culminating in an outdoor (weather permitting) family event at Paxton House on Sunday, July 20. Their impressive and energetic performance talents will be on display in their recital on Wednesday, July 23.
The Edinburgh Quartet return with their new line up to perform in the middle of the Festival on Thursday, July 24. They appear with the virtuosic Maximiliano Martin, principal clarinet of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, in Brahms’s Clarinet Quintet. The Russian programme thread continues with Shostakovich’s haunting String Quartet No.8 in C min. The Scottish Ensemble also make a welcome return with an emotionally charged programme of sextets by Richard Strauss, Boccherini and Puccini, bringing the festival to a close with Tchaikovsky’s wonderfully evocative Souvenir de Florence.
Music at Paxton has proudly supported exceptional young musicians since its inception, working closely with Live Music Now. Live Music Now Scotland celebrates its 30th birthday this year and Music at Paxton presents its double bill on Tuesday at 7.30pm with the Astrid String Quartet, Fraser Langton (clarinet) and Juliette Philogene (piano). The concert features Live Music Now’s birthday commission by Alasdair Nicolson.
The Live Music Now Scotland artists, Pure Brass and their virtuosic antics return again on Sunday, July 27 for a family concert in the grounds (weather permitting) celebrating with their humorous brass musical pyrotechnics.
This year has an abundance of exceptional young and international talent. The Chiaroscuro Quartet, formed in 2005 and representing Russia, Sweden, Spain and France in their nationalities, will perform on Sunday, July 20. They are led by Alina Ibragimova, who has also regularly appeared at Music at Paxton in recital.
An artist making his Paxton debut and who is making his mark on the international stage is the award-winning Italian pianist, Alessandro Taverna, who will entertain audiences on Friday, July 25.
Mahan Esfahani, originally from Tehran, is internationally renowned for his harpsichord playing and will perform a Barowue double bill entitled ‘The Bach Family At Home’ for Music at Paxton on Saturday, July 26.
For his first performance he will be joined by much sought-after Baroque violinist Bojan Čičićb and for his second, virtuoso Viola da Gamba player Susanne Heinrich and the ever popular baritone William Berger.
You don’t have to wait until July to enjoy this year’s festival. For the second year running, one-hour taster concerts under the banner of ‘Music at Paxton…Plus’ will get things going on Sunday, May 18 and Sunday, June 15 with performances from Duende (Yvonne Paterson, flute and Andrew Robinson, guitar) and Olga Jegunova, piano.
○For more and information and tickets visit www.musicatpaxton.co.uk.