From Romania with love

There will be none of T.S. Eliot’s sombre November for classical music lovers in Kelso and Peebles.

Romanian musicians, the Arcadia String Quartet, play a Kelso Music Society concert on Friday, November 22 at 7.30pm in the acoustics of Kelso Old Parish Church.

“So much of the very best European musical performance comes from the East where music is part of the Balkan lifeblood,” writes Kelso Music Society’s Peter Podmore.

“They will be playing one of Beethoven’s most beautiful early quartets, the Opus 18 No.6, then Janacek’s extraordinary Quartet No.2 called the ‘Intimate Letters’ inspired by a long spiritual relationship with a married woman Kamila Stosslova 38 years younger than himself. ‘Those notes of mine kiss all of you,’ Janacek wrote.

“The final work is Debussy’s sensual and impressionistic Quartet considered a watershed in the history of music, releasing chamber music from its rigid structure and allowing much more freedom in 20th century quartet writing. It’ll be a sensual and passionate evening from beginning to end.

“The Arcadias were formed in 2005 and have played in many of the leading concert halls around Europe. As winners of the Wigmore Hall London International String Quartet competition they are undertaking a very extensive tour of music societies around Britain of which Kelso feels very privileged to be part.”

Then Music in Peebles takes the stage with young Latvian pianist Arta Arnicane in the town’s Eastgate Theatre on Tuesday 26 November at 7.30pm.

Arnicane came to prominence as winner of the prestigious Prague Spring Competition in 2011. Since then, she has established a busy international career and has proved a hit in Scotland, where she gained a Master’s degree in Glasgow.

“As part of her Autumn 2013 Scottish tour, she will be making her first appearance in Peebles, in a concert assured to delight all lovers of outstanding piano playing,” writes Music in Peebles president John Fox.

“Arta’s programme brings together Schubert at the height of his powers and Ravel at his most technically demanding. Schubert is represented by his Four Impromptus, D.899, the first of two such sets he wrote in the last year of his tragically short life.

“These are pieces of real substance, belying the slight nature implied by the title. Arta is particularly renowned for her Ravel interpretations, and she will play the highly original youthful work ‘Jeux d’eau’, followed by the extraordinary suite ‘Gaspard de la Nuit’, one of the most inventive and pianistically challenging works in the piano repertoire.

“Its three parts are inspired by a collection of medieval tales, written down in 1842 by Aloysius Bertrand who claimed they were whispered to him by the Devil, Gaspard.

“Linking these two contrasting master composers is another, Liszt, whose ‘Barcarolle’ is an arrangement of a Schubert song and whose influence is clear in the virtuosity of the Ravel pieces.”

Tickets for Arta Arnicane’s concert are available from the Eastgate box office (01721 725777) at £13, or £6 if accompanying a child under 12. Entry is free for all school students and Music in Peebles members. Full details of all Music in Peebles concerts, and of how to become a member, can be found at