5-7 January 2018
LSO St Luke’s / Saint James Clerkenwell
Featuring: Joanna MacGregor; Paolo Pandolfo; Marian Consort with actor Gerald Kyd Thomas Dunford & Keyvan Chemirani; Bjarte Eike & Jon Balke; Tabea Debus & Alex McCartney; O Duo
The creative forces behind the acclaimed London Festival of Baroque Music have announced a brand new festival coming to London in the New Year. Lindsay Kemp and Lucy Bending introduce the inaugural Baroque at the Edge, a curated weekend of music based at LSO St Lukes (5-7 January 2018) that invites leading musicians from an array of genres to take the music of the Baroque era and see where it leads them.
The adventurous line-up of musicians includes pianist Joanna MacGregor, viol virtuoso Paolo Pandolfo, the highly-anticipated first London performance of Clare Norburn’s acclaimed concert-drama Breaking the Rules, and a collaboration between two of Norway’s most thrilling artists, violinist Bjarte Eike and pianist Jon Balke.
Artistic Director Lindsay Kemp says: “The standard of performance and improvisation in Baroque music these days is incredibly high, but after many years of programming it in the ‘traditional’ way, I’m extremely excited to be planning a brand-new festival in which it can just be itself, freed from ‘historical context’ and finding its own way into the modern world at the hands of talented and open-minded musicians from many different backgrounds. No need for long explanatory programme notes here – all you’ll need to know is how to listen!”
The festival packs seven concerts into three days, and starting off the weekend is pianist Joanna MacGregor. The world-renowned artist, well known for her collaborations and wide-ranging repertoire, explores an adventurous programme of works by Byrd, Purcell, and Rameau all the way to Messiaen, Birtwistle and Glass.
A jam-packed Saturday starts with the brilliant young recorder player Tabea Debus and theorbo-player Alex McCartney mixing Telemann’s Solo Fantasias with complementary works specially commissioned from contemporary composers Colin Matthews, Laura Bowler and Fumiko Miyaci. A solo set by charismatic viol player Paolo Pandolfo continues Saturday’s line-up, offering music ranging from fantasies and popular dance-tunes of the 16th and 17th centuries to Paolo’s own atmospheric 21st century improvisations.
Saturday evening welcomes the long-awaited first London performance of Clare Norburn’s acclaimed concert drama, Breaking the Rules. Set amid Gesualdo’s music performed by the singers of the Marian Consort, actor Gerald Kyd performs a monologue exploring the last agonies of the 17th-century composer, who, having jealously murdered his wife and her lover, poured his pain into deeply and unconventionally expressive music that later won the admiration of the likes of Stravinsky and Zappa.
Rising star lutenist Thomas Dunford meets Persian percussionist Keyvan Chemirani – member of one of the great Iranian musical families – in Saturday’s late night concert, where the connections between Middle Eastern and early music instruments are explored through a programme bringing together 16th and 17th century European masters and virtuoso Persian compositions.
Sunday sees the irrepressible percussion pairing O Duo in a Baroque-based family participation event, followed by a collaboration between two of Norway’s most open-minded artists, Bjarte Eike and Jon Balke. Baroque violinist Eike is best-known for his ‘Alehouse Concerts’ with Barokksolistene (recently heard on Cerys Matthews’s radio show Cerys on 6), whilst Balke is a famed jazz pianist, composer and founder of the innovative Magnetic North Orchestra. Together they weave folk and jazz into music of the 16th and 17th centuries to bring the inaugural Baroque at the Edge festival to a haunting close.