The eighth Music at Paxton festival opened last weekend with six exciting concerts heralding a musical feast.
Last year, the baritone William Berger made an impressive debut and on Friday he returned for a highly-coloured, entertaining recital of songs by Dvorak, Ravel and Falla. He and his accompanist Alasdair Beatson appeared in the evening to sing Schubert’s song Death and the Maiden as a preparation for the composer’s quartet of the same name.
The energy of the Endellion Quartet was spellbinding in power and passion and evoked loud cheers from the capacity audience.
Alasdair Beatson’s abilities as a solo pianist were revealed in his Saturday afternoon recital of Beethoven’s late A major Sonata and Schumann’s taxing Fantasie in C.
It was easy to see why the young British musicians of the Rhodes Piano Trio have won so many musical awards.
In their Saturday evening concert they captured the quirky humour of Martinu’s first piano trio before facing the challenge of two substantial works by Czech composers.
The 24, a choir from the University of York, are regular visitors to Paxton. On Sunday, they were joined by members of Extrachord, from Germany, in a repertoire mostly from the 20th century.
The Arcadia String Quartet from Romania is yet another expert group of players and their delicate contrast of dynamics in Haydn’s F minor quartet, opus 20 no 5, made this a most exciting experience.
Bartok’s Romanian Dances allowed them to display their own national feelings to the full.
The Music at Paxton festival continues until this Sunday.