THE West Cork Chamber Music Festival celebrates its 21st anniversary in Bantry this year.
Running from July 1st to 9th in St Brendan’s Church and Bantry House, the programme comprises 85 world class musicians performing in 37 concerts, 26 young musician masterclasses, nine artist interviews, and Ireland’s only instrument exhibition.
A notable feature of this year’s line-up is the rich selection of major song cycles featuring top international singers.
Tenor Mark Padmore will join with the outstanding pianist, Paul Lewis, in Schubert’s great setting of Winterreise.
Two nights later, Mark will sing Janacek’s rarely performed Diary of One who Disappeared, with pianist Julius Drake, and French mezzo Anna Reinhold as the seductive gypsy girl. The festival opens with the world premiere of Deirdre Gribbin’s Devil’s Dwelling Place, which will be performed by the Israeli violinist Nurit Stark.
A highlight for many will be a wide selection of magisterial works by Beethoven from his early string quintet to his final string quartet, culminating in a single concert featuring one of his most adventurous quartets, his last violin sonata, and the great Archduke piano trio with an international cast of nine musicians from Russia, Georgia, France, Netherlands, Britain and Ireland.
The festival can always be relied on to explore unusual corners of the repertoire.
One coffee concert features love songs by women composers from 18th century Italy; another alternates arias from Bach Cantatas with chorales from remote Swedish communities in a programme devised by Festival favourite, Maria Keohane, while a late-night concert sees a setting of Kafka texts for soprano and violin.
This special 21st anniversary line-up also includes Tamsin Waley-Cohen, Monika Leskovar, Vanbrugh Quartet, Concerto Copenhagen, Alina Ibragimova, Chiaroscuro Quartet, Kelemen Quartet, Borusan Quartet, Tamar Beraia, Lawrence Power, Eline Vähälä, Cédric Tiberghien, Pieter Wispelwey, Adrian Brendel, José Gallardo and many more.
This annual festival blends contemporary pieces with some of the best-loved works in classical music. Among those to be performed will be works by Brahms, Beethoven, Bartók, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Fauré, Telemann, Vivaldi, Bach, Shostakovich and Handel. Contemporary composers featured include György Kurtág, Deirdre Gribbin and Séan Doherty. Booking on www.westcorkmusic.ie