What’s ahead at this year’s Purbeck Chamber Music Festival

PUBLISHED: 15:59 24 August 2016 | UPDATED: 16:05 24 August 2016

Natalie Clein, artistic director of the Purbeck Chamber Music Festival

Natalie Clein, artistic director of the Purbeck Chamber Music Festival

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The spirit of composer Franz Schubert infuses this year’s Purbeck Chamber Music Festival, which also includes T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets read by Juliet Stevenson

The Purbeck Chamber Music Festival returns to dazzle and entertain from 2 – 4 September. Now firmly established as a regular late summer Dorset arts event, it reflects Purbeck’s multi-faceted music calendar with performances of established favourites alongside less familiar pieces.

The Festival’s artistic director, Natalie Clein, who grew up in Purbeck, is set to welcome a stunning line-up of performers including renowned actress Juliet Stevenson, internationally acclaimed pianist Julius Drake, the Cologne-based Signum Quartet (named BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist and winner of the chamber category in the International Classical Music Awards), Canadian violinist Lara St. John, British soprano Ruby Hughes, and the South African viola star and overtone singer Gareth Lubbe.

On offer is a fascinating programme which includes Franz Schubert’s iconic String Quintet in C major, one of Natalie’s favourite pieces. “This is Schubert’s final chamber music work and surely one of the most beloved of all pieces,” she declares. “It will be performed by the wonderful Signum Quartet.”

In fact, as Natalie reveals, there is a Schubert thread running through this year’s Festival. “On Saturday evening we will hear Schubert songs and his monumental late Piano Sonata in B flat major, played by Julius Drake. And on Sunday morning the Signum Quartet and Gareth Lubbe will play Mozart’s Viola Quintet in C major - the piece that inspired Schubert to write his Cello Quintet.”

As always, Natalie has included the spoken word within the programme. “We are incredibly lucky to have Juliet Stevenson coming for the opening concert in Wareham to read poetry by Russian modernist poet, Anna Akhmatova, and excerpts from the Four Quartets by T.S Eliot. Ruby Hughes and I will be performing some of John Tavener’s Songs for Voice and Cello, and there will be charismatic energy from Lara St. John with works by Schnittke and Britten.”

One of the main focuses of the Festival is to engage with a younger musicians and Natalie will be holding a masterclass for young cellists on the 1st September. “There’s also a Children’s Concert, with mandatory dancing, on Saturday morning at 11am at Durlston Castle,” she adds.

Taking place in some of Purbeck’s most beautiful churches, amidst the spectacular landscape of the rugged Jurassic coastline, this Festival welcomes music lovers and those keen to discover music - surely there can be no better combination!


• 2 Sept: Akhmatova Songs by John Tavener, excerpts from T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets narrated by Juliet Stevenson, Schnittke String Trio and Schubert Quintet in C major. 7.30pm, Lady St Mary Church, Wareham.

• 3 Sept: J.S.Bach played by Lara St John and Natalie Clein. 10am, St Nicholas Church, Worth Matravers.

• 3 Sept: Schubert songs and Piano Sonata in B Flat Major, String Quartet by Haydn and contemporary Danish composer Søren Nils Eichberg. 7.30pm, St Mary’s Church, Swanage.

• 4 Sept: Schulhoff Duo for Violin and Cello, Mozart String Quintet No.3 in C major. 11.30am, St James Church, Kingston.

For more programme information and booking tickets visit purbeck-chambermusic.org or call 03336 663366.

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