southwell music festival

12 Days of Christmas 2015: Day 8

A journey into the imagination

Sunday evening concerts at the Southwell Music Festival tend to challenge audiences with less familiar repertoire – or familiar music in an unfamiliar guise.

In 2015, between two works already featured in this series of highlights – Stravinsky’s Octet and The Rite of Spring for four hands at one piano, we presented Arcadiana – a work for string quartet by the contemporary British composer Thomas Adès.

In each of the work’s seven movements the composer “evokes an image associated with ideas of the idyll, vanishing, vanished or imaginary”.  Today’s gift for the Twelve Days of Christmas is the work’s fifth movement  entitled L’Embarquement – inspired by Watteau’s painting The Embarkation for the Island of Cythera in the Louvre.  (The link is useful not only in enabling the listener to see the picture that inspired the music but also to read the Louvre’s commentary which sheds light on the playful nature of the music.) The players in this performance, which took place in the State Chamber on 30th August, were Jamie Campbell and Natalie Klouda (violins), Ruth Gibson (viola) and Nathaniel Boyd (cello).

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The 2016 Festival takes place from 25-29 August.  The programme will be launched at a special concert on Friday 18th March at 7.30pm in Southwell Minster.