A summer festival of beautiful classical music

A summer festival of beautiful international chamber music is coming to the Scottish Borders next month.

Music at Paxton will take place in Paxton House on the banks of the River Tweed from 13–22 July.

The daily concerts will offer an intimate, friendly and relaxed experience and take place in Paxton House’s splendid Picture Gallery.

With its large, domed roof-light that lets in the summer sun, and walls hung high with paintings from the National Galleries of Scotland’s collection, it is an idyllic setting for chamber music.

One of the outstanding performers who will play this year is Scottish guitarist Sean Shibe, from Edinburgh, who has been described as one of the foremost guitarists of the young generation – indeed he is like no other.

Already snapped up as a BBC New Generation Artist, he has been highly praised by audiences and critics worldwide for his exceptional musicianship.

Sean spoke with Scottish Field to preview the performance, and it was instantly apparent how much he cares about his music, and how much it means to him.

We discussed whether orchestral film scores are truly classical music, and were in accord that it provides an accessible entrance to the classics for the mass populace, a starting point from which to explore the great works.

We also considered whether removing funding from small musical outlets and performers is just in the current climate, as you come to the point where you consider whether the survival of a dedicated art form outweighs the cost, no matter how many people are accessing it.

Sean is no stranger to the venue for the concert series.

He recalled: ‘For sure, it’s such a nice place to play, a beautiful location. The last time I was there was about 2012. I was just starting off, playing at the launch of the programme, for about 20 minutes or so. It’s a very intimate venue, I felt.

‘The first time I went there, I was about five-years-old, and I was running through fields of barley – it was then that I discovered that I had hay fever!

‘What I particularly like about Paxton House is that it is quite unique, but there is a different feeling to it, like a camaraderie, as you will have people performing in different parts of the building.

‘I enjoy these festivals, like Paxton, or the Cumnock Tryst. There is a cultural beauty to them, where you find the niches and remind people there are things which are not so easy to understand, but with some investment, it can provide a great and nourishing reward.’

This elegant and intimate programme promises to be very special and is not to be missed. Sean will perform at Music at Paxton on Thursday, 19 July, at 7.30pm approximately.

Performing for two hours in the Paxton House Picture Gallery, Sean will perform John Dowland’s Praeludium, Forlorn Hope Fancy and Fantasia 1A, as well as Villa-Lobos’s Preludes, W419, and Bach’s Lute Suite No 2 in A minor (originally in C minor) BWV 997. His programme also includes Scottish Lute Music from the Balcarres, Rowallan, Straloch and Wemyss manuscripts.

Tickets are £22.00 (concessions £11). This concert is sponsored by the Benefactors of Music at Paxton.

Music at Paxton was formed in 2006 and from modest beginnings has grown into a key event on the UK chamber music circuit. Music at Paxton is a limited company and a registered charity, aiming to bring high quality music to the Eastern Scottish Borders, an area not currently well served with classical music.

For more details, click HERE.