THE LEAMINGTON Music Festival Weekend has pleanty of reason to celebrate from tomorrow (Friday) through to Monday (May 5).
Not only does it mark the festival’s own 25th anniversary, but the festival weekend will also celebrate another landmark birthday – the bicentenary of the opening of Leamington’s Royal Pump Rooms.
The celebration will include concerts of music written in the decade around 1814 by Beethoven, Schubert, Hummel, Spohr and Rolla, and given by Ensemble 360 and the Okeanos Ensemble on May 2 and 5.
Saturday (May 3) is Polish National Day and the local Polish community will join in the celebrations, as pianist Marek Bracha and the Royal String Quartet come to Leamington. Bracha makes his debut here with an all Chopin piano recital at lunchtime and he joins the Royal Quartet in the evening, for two works including Chopin’s Piano Concerto No 2.
Sunday (May 4) celebrates Czech Music Year with a Day of Czech music, recalling the World War Two years when the Czech Free Army Choir used to rehearse in the Royal Pump Rooms under Vilem Tausky.
The Dvorak Society, which champions Czech music, celebrates 40 years this year and many of its members will come to Leamington for its AGM and a talk by Richard Beith about the Czech musical contributions during the War.
The Sunday lunchtime concert will be given by Longbow directed by Peter Shepphard Skaerved, with two works by Vilem Tausky, including his Coventry, written after he saw the Cathedral destroyed in the blitz of November 1940 and a string quintet by Dvorak and a string sextet by Martinu. In the evening one of the world’s leading piano trios, the Prague-based Guarneri, returns to Leamington with a programme of Smetana, Fiser and Dvorak.
Bank Holiday Monday is equally busy, with the traditional Bank Holiday Organ Recital at nearby All Saints Church given by Kevin Bowyer, who is remembered for his years as organist of St Mary’s Warwick from 1989 to 1998. His programme celebrates the centenary of the births of Wilfrid Mellers, who was born in Leamington, and William Lloyd Webber, father of Andrew and Julian.
The Okeanos Ensemble gives the lunchtime concert which will include two works by Robin Holloway, also Leamington-born and who celebrated his 70th birthday last October. In the afternoon the Hepplewhite Piano Trio, Leamington Music Prize winners in 2012, will recreate a Palm Court afternoon concert with tea, which used to happen in the Royal Pump Rooms in the 1950’s and before then.
The Weekend ends with a concert by more Czech artists, the Wihan String Quartet and pianist Martin Kasik. The final work is Schumann’s Piano Quintet.
Tickets are available from the Bridge House Theatre Box Office online at www.bridgehousetheatre.co.uk or by calling 01926 776438.
The Royal String Quartet will be joining the celebrations during the Leamington Music Festival Weekend. (s)