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2023 Programme

15 – 17 September 2023

Event 1


Friday 15 September 1.00pm – 2:00pm  
Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate

Tickets £15 (18 and under free)

Cello Recital

Tim Lowe (Cello)
Katya Apekisheva (Piano)


12 Variations on ‘See the conqu’ring hero comes’ from Handel’s oratorio Judas Maccabaeus WoO 45.


Cello Sonata No.1 in E Minor, Op. 38.


Nocturne for Cello and Piano, No. 4 from 6 pieces Op. 19

Valse sentimentale No. 6 from Six Morceaux, Op. 51


Adagio and Allegro Op. 70

For the opening event of the 2023 festival we welcome the festival’s Artistic Director and cellist, Tim Lowe who is joined by the celebrated Russian pianist Katya Apekisheva. 

A young Beethoven, inspired by his favourite composer, wrote a companion piece to his two early cello sonatas. Brahms loved the golden glow and warmth of the cello, especially its deeply resonant voice with a special character of introspection. Op. 38 was the first duo sonata he allowed to be published. Tchaikovsky sings to us while Schumann, also in thrall to the sound of the cello, wrote a love song; unfolding and opening out before coming to complete stop, in peace, followed by an ecstatic outburst of happiness; Schumann showing us his most romantic face. 

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18 year olds and under free entry to all events



Friday 15 September 7.30pm
National Centre for Early Music, St Margaret’s Church

Tickets £20 (18 and under free)

Concert by Festival Artists

John Mills,
Jonathan Stone 

Hélène Clément,
Simone van der Giessen 
Jonathan Aasgaard,
Tim Lowe 
Billy Cole (double bass)

String Quartet Op. 76 No. 3


String Quartet No. 2 in A minor Op. 13

Richard Strauss

Metamorphosen, version for String Septet 
(2 violins, 2 violas, 2 cellos, double bass)

This concert brings together an international line up of some of the finest string players in Europe. Haydn’s series of six string quartets, Op. 76 was his last set, at the top of his game and defining the future of the string quartet for years to come. The 18 year old Mendelssohn was in love with his next door neighbour, Betty Pistor. He wrote her a poem and a quartet to match but she was not interested! But she provoked some gorgeous and joyous music, Felix’s first really mature chamber music. (in the end he didn’t really mind about Betty)


Richard Strauss’s Metamorphosen, for String Septet is an unbroken heart-rending strand of lyricism which spans 25 minutes. Written during the violent endgame of the Second World War, Metamorphosen tells a story of  bleakness and redemption, spinning and weaving themes together with such artistry that gives the septet a radiant brightness of tone and sheen perhaps never before heard in string music. Distraught by the terrible destruction of German cities and the brutal insanity of Hitler’s Third Reich, Strauss re-read his Goethe. Anger was not to be the last word. Beauty and truth will always triumph. We travel with Strauss from heartbreak to redemption; to transformation.

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Saturday 16 September 1.00pm – 2:00pm  
Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate

Tickets £15 (18 and under free)

Piano Recital

Katya Apekisheva (Piano)

Three Piano Pieces, D946


Piano Sonata in B flat major, D960

We welcome back to the festival the wonderful Russian pianist Katya Apekisheva for her solo recital. Described as ‘a profoundly gifted musician’ (Gramophone Magazine) Katya is renowned throughout the world as one of the outstanding pianists of her generation. In a change of programme she will play one of the greatest of all sonatas, Schubert’s final instrumental work written only a few months before his death, age 31. In this transcendental piano sonata there is a sense of timelessness, quiet majesty, and cosmic expanse.


Schubert’s piano sonatas remained uncharted territory for an embarrassingly long time. Rachmaninov did not know of their existence. It would seem that their unique character and vision was quite commonly obscured by lazy assumptions and cliches; their lack of conventional form, their ‘heavenly length’, their touching ‘Viennese lightness’ and lyricism. One of the first pianists to realise what he was dealing, the great German pianist Wilhelm Kempff (1895 - 1991), said the sonatas are, “an exploration of the immeasurable depths of Schubert’s soul, offering nothing for the out and out virtuoso and everything for those who find solace in music freed from all material concerns’.


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