Great Musical Conversation

Composer Charlotte Bray

Listening to chamber music is like eavesdropping on a musical conversation, and music for a trio of performers is musical conversation at its most intimate.

At this year’s Festival, Jamie Campbell and I are excited to present a programme of trios in a wide variety of combinations: it reveals how composers from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries have risen to the challenge of trio writing and in the process created some of their most memorable music.  We hope you will join us on this journey of musical discovery and enjoy the ride.

We include lyrical works by Brahms – his rarely-performed Two Songs for Alto, Viola and Piano and his popular Trio for Violin, Horn and Piano – Shostakovich’s dramatic Piano Trio No. 2, and two works by one of Britain’s great young composers, Charlotte Bray.

Charlotte is emerging as a distinctive and outstanding composer of her generation.  Still only 35, she has written for some of the world’s leading musicians, orchestras and ensembles. The main influences on her music are the baroque and renaissance eras and particularly Bach.  Brahms and Shostakovich, with whom she shares the Festival programme, are also important to her.

The two piano trios by Charlotte are inspired by Shakespeare plays: That Crazed Smile is based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream and its interplay of dreams and reality; the starting point for Those Secret Eyes is Macbeth and explores dark and sinister plotting and deceit.

The programme not only showcases highly individual repertoire but also a number of our very special Festival Chamber Soloists including mezzo-soprano Marta Fontanals-Simmons, violinist Sara
Wolstenholme, violist Lena Eckels, cellist Nathaniel Boyd and hornist James Pillai.  And not forgetting an embarrassment of amazing pianists – James Baillieu, Libby Burgess and James Cheung.

The Art of the Trio can be enjoyed on Thursday 24th and Friday 25th August, from 7.00-9.00pm.  The concerts take place in the State Chamber – the ideal setting for such intimate music making, as was acknowledged by The Sunday Times Chief Classical Music Critic Hugh Canning who said it was “perfect for chamber music and song”.

Tickets can booked online here, by calling 0115 989 5555, or by visiting the Southwell Cathedral shop.