Celebration of musical dynamos
A weekend celebrating the music of Mendelssohn and Schumann opens proceedings in Sheffield this year for Music in the Round.
Mendelssohn and Schumann: The Leipzig Years is dedicated to what Music in the Round describe as “the highly-charged, often turbulent chamber music of Robert Schumann in combination with the ever-youthful compositions of Felix Mendelssohn”.
Opening the festival at the Crucible Studio is one of Britain’s finest pianists and Sheffield resident Peter Hill, who will be performing pieces by JS Bach.
Mendelssohn was credited with reviving interest in Bach when he gave the first public performance in almost 80 years of his St Matthew Passion in March 1829.
Peter will present key compositions from Bach’s time spent in the German city of Leipzig, including a selection of his captivating French Suites.
Peter Hill is widely acknowledged to be one of the world’s finest interpreters of Bach, say Music in the Round.
His latest CD, which features the French Suites he is performing, was released to great critical acclaim at the beginning of this year.
The event organisers said: “Over the course of three days, Sheffield’s superb resident chamber group Ensemble 360 present a selection of music that explores Mendelssohn and Schumann’s participation in the musical life of the city, from the moment they first met there in October 1835.
“Their influence was extraordinarily far reaching: Mendelssohn founded the famous Conservatoire and also directed the renowned Gewandhaus Orchestra, while Schumann found love in the city, marrying the young composer and piano prodigy Clara Wieck.”
Among the musical highlights of the weekend are performances of Mendelssohn’s stunning Song without Words for cello and piano (Friday February 19, 9pm) and Schumann’s magnficent Piano Quintet Op.44. (Sunday 21, 3pm), as well as Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio Op.49 and his String Quartet Op.80 (Saturday 20, 7.15pm).
Music by the Sheffield-born composer William Sterndale Bennett, a regular visitor to Leipzig who was championed by both Mendelssohn and Schumann, also features.
To coincide with his bicentenary year, Ensemble 360 are performing his exuberant Chamber Trio as part of a one-hour lunchtime concert on the Saturday.
The festival also extends beyond the Crucible Studio for some live chamber music recitals in John Lewis on the Saturday from 11am to 2pm.
Music in the Round artistic director Angus Smith said: “Our annual spring weekend festival this year features not one, but two great composers, Mendelssohn and Schumann.
“And, as with any great film, there is an extraordinary supporting cast and backdrop without which this story cannot be fully told – including the inspirational figure of JS Bach, the music students who flocked to Leipzig and the rumblings of approaching political dissent.”