IN a normal year, this Friday, June 26th, would see the first of over 80 events at the West Cork Chamber Music Festival.
Chamber music concerts, quartet masterclasses, artist interviews, instrument making workshops and talks take place in Bantry, bringing 5,000 visitors from all over the world to the town. Just because fate and the coronavirus cancelled the festival, it did not mean the festival would cancel all musicmaking. The international nature of the festival came to its rescue as ways were found to bring 40 of the 70 cancelled musicians together in venues all over Europe and the USA.
Production companies were then located to film and record concerts in Chicago and Cork, Amsterdam and London, Paris and Warsaw, Bremen and Bloomington. These dozen or more films will be streamed daily on the festival website from 26th of June to July 5th.
Despite everything, it is still Beethoven Year, so the public is promised a fiery Kreutzer Sonata by two young Dutch players; the great Vadim Gluzman will play the Spring Sonata and Dudok Quartet will give perform the stupendous late quartet that ends with the ‘maddest fugue in Western music’. Alina Ibragimova and Alasdair Beatson have been filmed playing Mozart, Debussy and Ravel.
The four quartets, Pacifica, Doric, Signum and Dudok, will, amongst others, play Haydn, Britten, Shostakovich, Schulhoff, Schubert and Caroline Shaw. The brilliant Ukrainian pianist, Anna Fedorova, whose Rachmaninov concerto performances have been viewed millions of times, will join string players led by Mairéad Hickey in the greatest of the Schubert Trios and his evergreen Trout Quintet.
The French wind quintet, Ouranos Ensemble, will film their concert in a part of Ireland, the Centre Culturel Irlandais, in Paris, while the Dagda Ensemble, led by Caitriona O’Mahony, will – from the Triskel stage in Cork – tell the story of the women composers who led flourishing careers in 17th century Italy and France.