THE 150th anniversary of the birth of composer Ralph Vaughan Williams is celebrated as The Leamington Music Festival returns over the May Bank Holiday weekend.
Williams was born in 1872 and died in 1958. His anniversary is being celebrated throughout 2022 and Leamington Music will make a significant contribution both in the festival and in concerts later in the year.
The May festival, running from April 28 to May 2, features works by people who new Williams, composers he taught and composers he studied with.
There will be music by Benjamin, Bliss, Browne, Butterworth, Elgar, Howells, Maconchy, Orr, Parry, Ravel and Simpson.
Of these, possibly the most surprising is Ravel with whom he studied for three months in the early years of the 20th century.
It will give audiences the chance to enjoy some masterpieces by one of the greatest of French composers – and to speculate on how he inspired Williams.
* The Sacconi Quartet (Leamington Pump Rooms April 28, 7.30pm) – perform Vaughan Williams’ String Quartet No 1 in G minor, Ravel’s String Quartet in F and Elgar’s Piano Quintet in A minor Op 84
* Leonore Piano Trio (Pump Rooms April 29, noon) – Parry’s Piano Trio No 1 in E minor, together with Ravel’s Sonata for Violin and Cello and Piano Trio in A minor
* Ensemble 360 with tenor James Gilchrist tenor and Tim Horton on piano (Pump Rooms April 29, 7.30pm) – Howard Skempton’s The Moon is Flashing and Piano Concerto, together with Beethoven’s An Die ferne Geliebte Op 98 and Williams’ On Wenlock Edge
* Violinist Lana Trotovšek and pianist Maria Canyigueral (Pump Rooms April 30, noon) – perform Tartini’s Violin Sonata in G minor ‘Devil’s Trill’, Williams’ The Lark Ascending, Ravel Violin Sonata No 2 in G and Prokofiev’s Five Pieces from ‘Cinderella’
* Sinfonia of Birmingham with conductor Michael Seal and oboist Nicholas Daniel (All Saints Church April 30, 7.30pm) – Williams’ The Wasps Overture, Oboe Concerto in A minor and Symphony No 5 in D, plus Parry’s An English Suite.
* Lynn Arnold and Charles Matthews (Pump Rooms May 1, noon) – Williams’ Suite,
Maconchy’s Preludio, Fugato and Final, Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite, Tovey’s Waltzes
Bliss’s Rout Benjamin Jamaican Rumba, Benjamin’s Jamaican Rumba, together with Skempton’s Plain Sailing and a premiere of a new Skempton work.
* Williams’ expert Dr Ceri Owen will also discuss the works appearing in the festival and his links to other featured composers, interwoven with extracts from his letters to give a personal insight to the process of the great composer, at the Pump Rooms on April 30 at 3pm.
The May festival will also includes works that were to have been given in the Covid-enforced cancelled festivals of 2020 and 2021, including Beethoven whose big year was the first to be hit by the pandemic.
Leamington Music was forced to cancel or postpone more than 40 concerts, but has gained plaudits all round for having put on over 30 concerts in the second half of last year and its spring season is currently flourishing.
Visit www.rvwsociety.com for more information about Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Visit www.leamingtonmusic.org for tickets and full details of the Leamington Music Festival.