Monday, 15 August 2022

Treasures at top class chamber music festival

SEPTEMBER 15 to 17 marks the return of the annual West Wycombe Chamber Music Festival

SEPTEMBER 15 to 17 marks the return of the annual West Wycombe Chamber Music Festival and its artistic director Lawrence Power to the historic Church of St Lawrence at the top of West Wycombe Hill, writes Trevor Howell.

Centuries-old walls, a warm acoustic and zero traffic noise create the perfect setting for the festival’s four intimate chamber programmes.

This is a rare opportunity to hear locally some of the most internationally celebrated names in classical music.

Performers include Anthony Marwood, Stephanie Gonley, Annabelle Meare (violins), Lawrence Power (viola/violin), Maxim Rysanov (viola), Bjorg Lewis (cello), Charlie Reston (guitar), Richard Watkins (horn) and Simon Crawford-Phillips (piano).

Audiences will emerge from their performances feeling both inspired by the experience and privileged to have been part of it.

The works span no fewer than 15 different composers over four centuries — among them Prokofiev’s Five Pieces from Romeo and Juliet for Viola and Piano, which is being performed at the opening concert on Thursday, September 15, at 7.30pm.

This will be followed after the interval by Beethoven’s String Quartet op 130 (with readings from Beethoven’s last will and testament by Tom Service of Radio 3).

The following evening’s concert features a little-known treasure in Paganini’s Quartet No 15 for Viola, Guitar, Violin and Cello.

Saturday evening’s concert includes Mozart’s Piano Concerto in E Flat major K449 (soloist: Simon Crawford-Phillips) and his Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra K364 (soloists: Lawrence Power and Anthony Marwood). Full programme details can be found on the website at www.westwycombechamber

The church has limited capacity, so the advice is to book early.

Thursday’s and Friday’s concerts are priced at £15, Saturday morning’s at £10 and Saturday evening’s at £20 — or you can pay £55 for a pass for all four concerts. To book, call 01494 528659 or 07948 897148 or email tickets@westwycombe

And it’s not too late to become a friend of the festival (£50, or £75 for a couple). Just email Deborah Behrman on westwycombe

You’ll receive free concert programmes and an invitation to join the musicians for drinks after the Thursday evening concert.

You’d be hard pushed to find a better way to spend your early autumn evenings.

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