It's all over now, but you might like a glance at the Draft Program for the 2012 Huntington Estate Music Festival just past.
Planning a Festival program is like dreaming up a wonderful party for dear friends. There is great joy in taking the repertoire every artist would most like to perform, comparing it to the deepest wishes of all the others, then connecting all the jigsaw pieces to form exciting new collaborations – a rich and satisfying experience for performers and listeners alike. A desire to share the pleasures of Niels Gade’s little-known Octet, for example, fits neatly alongside a ravishing song cycle and a violin sonata from his good friend, Robert Schumann. Another of Schumann’s colleagues, Felix Mendelssohn, was brought to life by Andrea Lam in the exquisite Songs without Words. We also had a miniature survey of Mozart-the-pianist, in both his popular concerto K449 (with Sasha Madžar and the ANAM Chamber Orchestra) and the delightful four-hands keyboard sonata K521 (Andrea Lam and Ian Munro). The folk flavours of Bartók’s Divertimento led to their more serious cousin, Quartet no 4 by the same composer – a special request from the ASQ – but such harmonies also led to the lightness of Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances and his ravishing Piano Quintet no 2.
The ANAM Chamber Orchestra supported Anthony Marwood in Peteris Vasks’ scintillating violin concerto, a late 20th-century classic that has already acquired numerous recordings by popular demand. The young players of ANAM then showed off their versatility, dropping back to the Baroque era to partner Fiona Campbell in arias from Handel’s own favourite oratorio (Theodora) and a breathtaking coloratura number written for a superstar of the age. ANAM made its final appearance for 2012 by bathing us in one of the finest examples of Romantic musical beauty, Tchaikovsky’s beloved Serenade for Strings.
A glance over the works on the 2012 program reveals a serious and substantial collection. The Huntington Festival is an opportunity to do more than just snack on ‘the classics’. It’s a time to set aside for unhurried appreciation of exhilarating performers and the composers who daily inspire them.