Bath Christmas Market may not be with us until November 24th, but there’s plenty going on in Bath to keep us entertained before then!
From November 11th until November 19th, Bath is hosting its annual Bath Mozart Fest, which sees the city come alive with some of the composer’s greatest and most famous works performed in beautiful venues around the city.
This year will be the 26th Bath Mozart Fest. It was begun in 1991 by Mrs Mary Purnell as a tribute to her late son Mark, who adored the music of Mozart and the city of Bath. The festival has grown each year thanks to national media coverage and sell-out concerts. Which is particularly impressive as Bath Mozart Fest receives no council or government funding. It is now well established as one of Europe’s top classical music festivals.
A few top picks
Tonight (Saturday 12th), at 7:30pm in The Forum in Bath, conductor Sir Mark Elder will be leading renowned orchestra the Halle, who are joined by Canadian violin virtuoso James Ehnes. Rather than Mozart, they will be performing pieces from Mendelssohn, Bruch and Beethoven. As well as enjoying the music, there is also the opportunity of partaking in the champagne reception before the concert and during the interval.
On Sunday 13th Bath’s famous Assembly Rooms will be welcoming the Nash Ensemble who will perform Mozart’s Trio in E flat major, his String Quintet in C minor, and his Serenade in B flat major. One indicator of the quality of the concert is that it is going to be recorded by BBC Radio 3 for future broadcast. Before the concert (which starts at 7:30pm) there is a pre-concert talk at 6pm, given by writer, lecturer and broadcaster Dr Katy Hamilton, who will be exploring the changing nature of concert programming in the 19th century.
Monday sees the first of the festival’s hour-long lunchtime concerts, as cellist Leonard Elschenbroich and prize-winning Russian pianist Peter Limonov join musical talents to perform Beethoven and Stravinsky at 1pm at the Guildhall.
On Tuesday at 7:30pm, again at the Guildhall, baritone Roderick Williams, who this year has won a Royal Philharmonic Society Award, and pianist Roger Vignoles will be performing Schubert’s late song cycle, Winterreise. After the performance there will be a question and answer opportunity with both Roderick and Roger.
The midweek highlight will be performed at 7:30pm on Wednesday at the Assembly Rooms, where the Emerson String Quartet (comprised of the traditional combination of two violins, a viola and a cello) will be playing pieces from Mozart, Shostakovich and Beethoven. Mozart’s D Minor Quartet is a piece full of passionate urgency, while Shostakovich’s Fourth Quartet is a beautiful piece which was kept from performance for many years as it was politically controversial at the time.
It looks to be an amazing programme for any devotee (or newcomer to for that matter) of classical music. Full details of the festival can be found at: http://bathmozartfest.org.uk/, and tickets are available from the website, or are available on the day from Bath Box Office (01225 463362) and at the venue one hour before the performance start.