Roderick Williams
12 July 2010

Music at Paxton returning for nine packed days

Music at Paxton is back for 2022 with nine days of glorious international chamber music, artistic alliances, Scottish premières, firsts and lasts.

Once again Paxton House, on the banks of the River Tweed in the Scottish Borders, sees distinguished international artists perform alongside outstanding emerging talent in Paxton’s famous Picture Gallery, hung high with paintings from the National Galleries of Scotland’s collection.

Classical music from across the ages dominates the programme, with a delicious blend of folk, contemporary, poetry, roundtable discussion, masterclasses and song.

Angus Smith, artistic director, said: ‘We have wonderful performers coming to the Festival this year, many of whom are old friends, but with others who are visiting for the first time. More than ever, we are committed to giving a platform to brilliant young musicians in the early stages of their professional careers, and to providing lots of family friendly events, so that all generations have a chance to enjoy a great range of fabulous music together under one roof.’

Roderick Williams (Photo: Benjaming Ealovega)

Baritone Roderick Williams, accompanied by pianist Susie Allan, open the festival on Friday 22 July at 7.30pm with a beautiful programme of British song celebrating nature and the 150th anniversary of the birth of Ralph Vaughan Williams and featuring songs by Gurney, Butterworth and RVW’s own Songs of Travel.

Mirroring RVW’s commitment to young musicians, Music at Paxton has jointly commissioned a set of songs with Thaxted Festival by rising composer Sarah Cattley and Sarah has chosen to set poems by three 20th century female poets – Fredegond Shove, Charlotte Mew and Frances Cornford. Roddy is joined in concert by outstanding young baritone Jerome Knox, a graduate of the University of Edinburgh, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and 2020 London Handel Festival Competition winner. Jerome will sing 10% of the programme as part of the visionary Momentum scheme. Ticket holders are invited to stay on for a short informal Q&A session with Roddy and Susie immediately after the concert. Tickets £30/£25 (conc. £15).

Widely regarded as one the finest communicators of song texts working today, Roderick Williams hosts a Masterclass on Saturday 23 July at 11am. He and Susie Allan share tips with young professional singers on interpretation and presentation. Tickets £10 (conc. £6) free entry for accompanied children.

Presenting outstanding young musicians early in their careers, and integrating them into the programme, remains a high priority for the festival, who proudly continue their partnership with Live Music Now Scotland. Braemar’s Ellie McLaren (fiddle) and Dundee’s Ciar Milne (small pipes) perform a wonderful blend of soulful airs and upbeat dances on Saturday 23 July at 5pm in the Marquee. Tickets £10 (conc. £6).

The Maxwell Quartet (Photo: Louise Mather)

In their final year as Artists in Residence, the Maxwell Quartet perform two strikingly different programmes. On Saturday 23 July at 7.30pm, Prokofiev’s 1st string quartet, with a distinctly ‘neo-classical’ flavour, sits alongside Dvo?ák’s rhythmic and spirited Quartet in G and Haydn’s perky and playful String Quartet Op.77 No.1. Tickets £30/£25 (conc. £15).

Well known for their ability to blend classical and folk music, Maxwell Quartet end their residency on a high, sharing the stage with two outstanding Scottish performers on Sunday 24 July at 4pm: emerging young accordionist Ryan Corbett and tenor and BBC Radio Scotland broadcaster Jamie MacDougall. The Quartet perform a delicious blend of the serious (Brahms), the not so serious (Haydn) and Roxanna Panufnik’s ‘The Audience’. Not to be missed. Tickets £25 (conc. £15).

Music and storytelling go hand in hand. To celebrate Visit Scotland Year of Stories, Live Music Now Scotland artists Ruaridh Geddes (fiddle) and Neil Sutcliffe (accordion) perform Traditional Tunes for Tiny People aged three to seven – and their grown-ups – on Tuesday 26 July at 11.30pm, 2pm and 4pm in the Marquee. Children must be accompanied by an adult (max 3 children per adult). Tickets £6 per child. (Single sibling rate £3, accompanying adults free entry).

Dame Sarah Connolly is firmly established as one of the world’s leading opera and concert singers. Her enchanting programme with regular recital partner, Joseph Middleton, on Tuesday 26 July at 7.30pm, features the beautiful music of Samuel Barber, late-Romantic songs by Chausson, Schoenberg and Berg, and irresistible show numbers by Kurt Weill. Music at Paxton are delighted to present Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Songs of Sleep and Regret a month after its world première at the Aldeburgh Festival. Ticket holders are invited to stay on for a short informal Q&A session with Sarah and Joseph immediately after the concert. Tickets £25 (conc. £15).

Dame Sarah Connolly (Photo: Christopher Pledger)

Exceptional young pianist Pavel Kolesnikov returns to Paxton for two concerts and a round-table talk. Joining him on Wednesday 27 July at 7.30pm is long time duo partner, pianist Samson Tsoy, for a programme of piano four hands music, culminating in Schubert’s inimitable Fantasie in F minor, a piece once described by Joachim Kaiser as ‘one of the greatest works in music history.’ Tickets £25 (conc. £15).

On Thursday 28 July at 5.30pm the Festival hosts An Evening with Marcel Proust, paying tribute to the great writer in the centenary year of his death. The evening opens with an entertaining round-table discussion exploring the elegant salon culture and Parisian high society of the Belle Epoque, with contributions from Peter Dayan, Professor of Word and Music Studies at the University of Edinburgh, and Professor Frances Fowle, Senior Curator at National Galleries of Scotland. (Free to 28 July evening concert ticket holders). For the following concert at 7.30pm, Pavel has designed a fascinating and compelling framework in which to present Schubert’s ‘monumental but elusive’ Piano Sonata in D, alongside music by some of Proust’s favourite composers; Hahn, Schubert, Fauré and Franck. Tickets £25 (conc. £15).

On Friday 29 July at 7.30pm, Paxton audiences will welcome the young members of the Echéa Quartet and hear their fresh approach to a classic combination of quartets by Schubert, Haydn and Beethoven. Former recipients of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Albert and Eugenie Frost Prize, the Quartet recently won the string ensemble prize in the Royal Overseas League competition. Tickets £23 (conc. £14).

Susie Allan (Photo: Bill Wyatt)

The Echéa Quartet head to Berwick Parish Church on Saturday 30 July at 10am for a relaxed performance of great classics based on stories by Tchaikovsky, Saint-Saëns and more, with actor and musician Gerda Stevenson as compere and narrator. Aimed at families and young children from age 5 upwards. Tickets £6 (conc. £4); free entry for accompanied under 12’s.

Also at Berwick Parish Church Saturday 30 July at 2pm, Paxton welcomes local organist, and authority on organ music, Robert Gower. Robert celebrates Ralph Vaughan Williams 150th anniversary with a lovely programme including the famous Rhosymedre and a selection from the English Folk Song Suite. Free entry.

Live Music Now Scotland artists Megan McDonald (accordion) and Calum McIlroy (voice, guitar, mandolin) bring their irresistible brand of folk music to the Marquee on Saturday 30 July at 5pm. Calum was a finalist in the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year, and Megan is in great demand with many folk groups. Tickets £10 (conc. £6).

The Mithras Trio

Formed in 2017, the Mithras Piano Trio has already won many of the most prestigious prizes open to young chamber ensembles, and in 2021 they were selected for the BBC New Generation Artists programme. On Saturday 30 July at 7.30pm the trio perform Cecilia McDowall’s elegiac Cavatina, Beethoven’s Piano Trio Op.70 No.2 and Tchaikovsky’s only Piano Trio; the latter, written in memory of his close friend, the pianist Nikolai Rubinstein, is a bold and passionate work. Tickets £23 (conc. £14).

The Mithras Piano Trio return to the Picture Gallery on Sunday 31 July at 12 noon for Fauré’s Piano Trio in D, praised for its ‘elegant clarity and serenity’. The same qualities are apparent in Lili Boulanger’s vision of Spring. This programme also features Mozart’s Piano Trio. Tickets £15 (conc. £9).

Angela Hewitt plays a beautifully crafted programme for the Festival Finale, featuring Mozart Piano Sonatas, Bach’s French Overture in B minor, and Chopin’s 2 Nocturnes. One of the most mesmerising musicians of the day, Angela has the ability to convey a spiritual seriousness that exudes charm. Tickets £30/£25 (conc. £15).

Once again, in conjunction with Live Music Now Scotland and Paxton House, the extremely successful free one-hour taster concerts ‘Music at Paxton…Plus’ return to the Festival. This year, classical harpist Sophie Rocks opens the series on Sunday 1 May at 3pm. Originally hailing from the Shetland Islands, Sophie draws influence from her traditional roots, but also harbours a passion for contemporary music, ranging from Berio to Bowie. On Sunday 19 June at 3pm, pianist Catriona Mackenzie and cellist Josiah Duhlstine, the Phoenix Duo, explore the rich classical cello-piano repertoire as well as arrangements of Scottish and American traditional music.

Elizabeth Macdonald, general manager, added: ‘We are looking forward to bringing people together in this very special corner of the UK to enjoy performances as enthralling as the setting. We are particularly thrilled to continue our partnership with Live Music Now Scotland, an organisation with such a strong commitment to making music accessible to all, whilst nurturing and mentoring the next generation of professional musicians.’

Music at Paxton is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland, and by EventScotland. Tickets will be available from Fringe/Red 61 from Monday 25 April and onsite at the Festival Box Office from 22 – 31 July. Priority booking for Patrons and Benefactors: Monday 11 April and for Friends: Monday 18 April. Public booking: Monday 25 April.

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