West Meon Music Festival 2023
A festival with wide appeal
This year’s West Meon Music Festival, from 14th to 17th September, promises a wide range of classical music to appeal to all tastes: favourite chamber pieces, song and piano recitals, early music and composers from Monteverdi to Mahler, Schubert to Schoenberg.
The festival, now in its thirteenth year, opens with the event’s founders the Primrose Piano Quartet, performing Brahms’ A major Piano Quartet as well as Mozart's Duo for Violin & Viola in B flat, and Schubert's “Arpeggione” Sonata for Cello and Piano.
Friday evening sees a recital by Thomas Kelly – winner of numerous international piano competition prizes – followed by “Who’s afraid of Arnold Schoenberg?” an informal late night concert by the Primrose exploring his work.
On Saturday 16th September the festival spreads out across the Meon Valley: in the morning the strings of the Primrose will perform a version of Bach’s Goldberg Variations at East Meon’s historic All Saints Church while in the afternoon the beautiful twelfth century Church of Our Lady at Warnford hosts the Gonzaga Band,one of the country's leading specialist early music groups exploring, the works of Monteverdi and his contemporaries. Formed by cornettist Jamie Savan in 1997 the band takes its name from the Gonzaga family of Mantua who employed Claudio Monteverdi as their maestro della musica at the turn of the seventeenth century. Jamie is joined by soprano Faye Newton and Steven Devine on chamber organ.
On Saturday evening the Primrose are back at West Meon Church with the chance to hear one of the country's rising stars when double bass player Will Duerden will join the Primrose for Schubert's Trout Quintet. Will rose to prominence after reaching the Strings Category Final of the 2018 BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition and this year has been selected as one of six young musicians to be supported by the Young Classical Artists Trust. Will has already had several significant new works specially written for him, with premières in Milan and London.
The Sunday morning brings a recital of French song with exciting young soprano Harriet Burns. Since graduating from the Guildhall Opera School, British soprano Harriet Burns has won a raft of international awards including second prize and German Lied Award a t 2022 Concours Musical International de Montréal the Compulsory Song Prize and Recital Prize at the International Vocal Competition in s'Hertogenbosch and first prize at the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards at the Wigmore Hall. She is fast developing a reputation as a “polished, witty, expressive and sweet toned The Times performer both in recital and on stage and on Sunday 17th September at West Meon church she will be giving a morning recital,enticingly called “Les Chemins d’Amour"((Pathways of Love) featuring songs by French composers including Fauré, Poulenc, Gounod and Debussy.
The French theme continues for the “Festival Finale” in the afternoon with works by Fauré, Chopin, Saint-Saëns, Françaix and Bizet.
Full details of all concerts are now available at www.westmeonmusic.co.uk and the box office is now open.
The evening concerts are candlelit and include a glass of wine. The morning concerts include coffee & biscuits and the afternoon concerts tea & cake.
The Saturday morning concert, Goldberg Variations, is at All Saints East Meon, and the Saturday afternoon concert, the Gonzaga Band, is at the Church of Our Lady, Warnford.
The Primrose Piano Quartet is one the country’s leading ensembles and its acclaimed discography includes classical favourites as well as many unjustly neglected works by early twentieth century British composers. Their major commissions include piano quartets written for them by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and Anthony Payne. The quartet appears regularly in London at Kings Place and the Conway Hall and has recently toured Denmark, Germany and Bulgaria. The quartet is a leading exponent of historically informed performance and Its latest recording of the complete Brahms piano quartets, made in Vienna on authentic pianos of the period, was highly recommended on Radio 3’s “Record Review”. A new CD of French nineteenth century works, also using an historic piano, is currently in production.