The sixth annual winter music festival in Cornwall, Music at Tresanton, returns this year with a weekend of Russian chamber music 18-20 November. Artistic director Noam Greenberg talks to us about his involvement with the festival and what we can expect from this year’s programme.
You’re the artistic director at Music at Tresanton. How did the festival start?
It was the 150th anniversary of Schumann’s death in 2006 and I had this desire to play through all through of Schumann’s cello music during that year. I didn’t originally plan to do it in all in one place over one weekend, but, by chance, I heard about Hotel Tresanton
having just refurbished this lovely Methodist chapel in the village of St Mawes and that they were keen to use it for artistic purposes. Luckily, they liked the idea of holding Schumann concerts and so the festival was born. It was a little bit mad, because we ended up playing all of Schumann’s cello repertoire over four concerts in one weekend, but it went down well so it’s been running in that format every since.
This year you’re joined by musicians Henning Kraggerud (violin) and Anssi Karttunen (cello) among others, how did this ensemble come about?
Practically all of us met through our connection with the International Musicians Seminar Prussia Cove
, except for Anssi Karttunen, whom I met through clarinettist Chen Halevi. We usually have quite a lot of familiar faces coming back to perform at the festival but it will be the first Tresanton
festival for both Karttunen and viola player Silvia Simionescu.
Why have you chosen to focus on Russian music this winter?
I always choose music for the festival that I find interesting, and music that I love performing. I also felt that the audience needed a break this year as last year’s programme (dedicated to George Enescu) was a little challenging. It was wonderful to perform Enescu’s chamber works, as a lot of them are completely unknown, but I think it was asking a bit much of the audience to sit through four concert programmes of back-to-back Enescu! So this year, for the sake of contrast, and for some light relief, I’ve chosen to perform some traditional and well-known Russian music that is more accessible. We’ll be playing Rachmaninov’s Cello Sonata and Piano Trio in G minor, Prokofiev’s 5 Melodies as well as trios from Shostakovich and Glinka amongst others. It’s a good spread.
You’re also performing the UK premiere of Magnus Lindberg’s trio for clarinet, cello and piano. Why did you choose this piece?
We wanted to break the mould a little, so on the Saturday evening we’ll be holding a concert dedicated to Finnish composer Magnus Lindberg
. Although, he’s not Russian he was influenced by Stravinsky’s music, so we’ll be alternating his pieces with some by Stravinsky. We’ll be performing the UK premiere of Lindberg’s trio for clarinet, cello and piano. Although it was written in 2008, it has just been rewritten –we only got the score last week. It’s not especially avant-garde but it’s unpredictability is quite a statement.
Ticket prices start at £14pp and can be bought from Hall for Cornwall, or on 01872 262 466. For a full programme of the weekend’s events, click here
Interview by Annie Reece