So much to look forward to at Stratford Music Festival

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The Orchestra of the Swan will perform family concert family concert of Carnival of the Animals at the Stratford Music Festival

Herald arts music reviewer Peter Buckroyd shares his anticipated highlights from the Stratford Music Festival which starts on Friday. See Thursday’s newspaper for our interview with artistic director David Mills.

There’s a wealth of enjoyment to be had at the Stratford Music Festival and a lot I’m looking forward to.

The opening recital of Schubert’s Wintereise (Winter Journey) on Friday, 13th September is one of the highlights. It’s been one of my favourite song cycles for over 50 years and the splendid Roderick Williams – a rare singer whose words can usually be heard in the acoustic of Stratford Playhouse – has made a wise decision to sing it in English. I’m also looking forward to Christopher Glynn’s piano playing in a work where the piano part is more than mere accompaniment.

Two things catch my eye on Saturday, 14th and Sunday, 15th, both involving Orchestra of the Swan. The Living Orchestra from 2.30pm to 4.30pm on Saturday is an event for all the family and for those who are not used to going to classical music concerts. It’s going to be an informal event with a range of seating. You can come and go as you like. It’s going to be completely unstuffy and if you want you can get up close to the players to hear and watch them, even moving from one player to another if you want to. The family concert of Carnival of the Animals should also be fun where you can identify the animals which Saint Saens presents.

Two string quartets in a new quartet led by Tamsin Waley-Cohen, well known to Stratford audiences, one by Mozart and the other by Schubert will be presented at 12noon on Monday and the Galliard Wind Quartet will be playing 1920s French music at 12noon on Wednesday.

I’m also hugely looking forward to Mozart’s ‘Dissonance’ quartet played by the Gildas Quartet on Thursday evening. This was one of my detailed set works for analysis in my A Level music exam over 50 years ago. It will be great to hear it live again. They are going to be joined by Galliard Quarter member Katherine Spencer for Weber’s exciting and envigorating virtuoso quintet.

Raphael Wallfisch’s solo cello recital is another highlight on the afternoon of Friday, 20th as is the recital on the evening of Friday, 20th by the Aris Quartet with Elizabeth Brauss, one of three concerts presented by BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists.

These are only a few of the events during the week long festival where there’s something for everyone. Find the full programme at www.stratfordmusicfestival.com