Leamington Music Festival starts Friday

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Tasmin Little

Clive Peacock previews the festival which starts on Friday  – and is based at Leamington’s Royal Pump Rooms

Thank goodness we are on the eve of the 30th Leamington Music Festival, the first of this year’s Midland Festivals. We can now be sure this year’s international line-up of soloists and ensembles will be free from perfidious Albion accusations and flextension issues! The Festival is full of brilliant young musicians working alongside some of the finest musicians Britain is proud to call its own.

Tasmin Little is recognised throughout the world as one of the country’s finest violinists. As part of her farewell tour she joins the Festival with 32 year old Russian-based Andrey Gugnin in a near sell-out opening night. Together they will tackle works by several of Europe’s finest composers, joined by our own Delius. The Delius story will be seen on film on Sunday 5 May during a screening of Nick Gray’s documentary of the composer’s struggle with parental opposition, illness and rejection by his adopted France.

Returning favourites include the Leonore Piano Trio, Fitzwilliam String Quartet and the Martinu String Quartet. The Aronowitz Ensemble makes its début with the Johnston family introducing brother Guy, cellist winner of the 2000 Young Musician of the Year competition.

Leamington Music’s Schubert trail continues, thanks to Schubert scholar, Brian Newbold’s, talk with Fitzwilliam String Quartet contributing illustrated excerpts. Raphael Wallfisch and John York join the Schubert trail as do the Martinu, Jonathon Cunliffe at the organ at All Saints Church on Monday 6 May and, finally, the emerging Southbank Sinfonia four tackle Schubert’s String Trio in B flat D581, a work in which we hear Schubert’s unmistakeable voice most clearly.

The wonderful baritone voice of Roderick Williams will be heard on Sunday 5 May, joining Ensemble 360 to sing Howard Skempton’s Man and Bat and Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Two bonus concerts with the renowned Takács String Quartet on 9th and 10th May.