Music in the Round’s autumn series of concerts in Sheffield begins with solo Bach on the 4th of October and ends with solo Bach on the 10th of December from two outstanding musicians.
In October it is exclusively Bach when the Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt adds the Crucible Studio to the roster of prestigious venues she has performed in around the world with a captivating programme of seven works.
Added up by BWV numbers, it is actually 35 and a visit to www.musicintheround.co.uk will reveal all.
Just a couple of Bach works, the respective solo Sonata and Partita No 3, when the super Russian-born violinist Alina Ibragimova gives what promises to be a mesmerising recital in St Marie’s Cathedral at the December concert.
Completing it are the last three of the six unaccompanied opus 27 sonatas penned in 1923 by the Belgian violin virtuoso Eugène Ysaÿe and place enormous technical demands on the performer.
Another exceptional musician of international standing, baritone Roderick Williams, offers Schubert’s song cycle Die Winterreise with pianist Christopher Glynn (11th November), although as MitR’s singer-in-residence he cannot really be called a visiting guest artist these days.
On the other hand, the Van Kuijk Quartet, a young French string quartet rapidly making international waves, fits the bill and play quartets by Haydn: Op 76 No 4, Ravel, and Beethoven: Op 127 (12th October).
The Marmen Quartet also programme Haydn: Op 50 No 1, and Beethoven: Op 132 (8th November), separating them with the Third String Quartet by Philip Glass, its subtitle Mishima being the title of a film with a Japanese subject for which it formed the soundtrack.
The Leonore Piano Trio continues its journey through the complete Beethoven violin sonatas with Op 47, the Kreutzer; cello and piano works with See the Conquering Hero Comes Variations; and piano trios with Op 1 No 3 (30th November).
Ensemble 360, meanwhile, begins its contributions to the autumn series rather enterprisingly with Elgar’s Violin Sonata, Coleridge-Taylor’s Piano Quintet in G minor – yes, he of Hiawatha-fame! – and Dvořák’s Second Piano Quartet Op 87 (6th October).
The latter crops up again (26th October) with his Dumky piano trio, plus Schubert’s B flat piano trio and the Brahms Horn Trio.
Trios and Brahms are still on the agenda at Upper Chapel (17th November) with the composer’s Op 87 piano trio and the first performance of a commissioned work, Ostara for clarinet, cello and piano by Dani Howard who is in the midst of premieres at present!
Book-ending the two works are Schumann’s Fantasiestücke Op 73 for clarinet and piano and Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet.
Two further works by Brahms are scheduled, the Op 11 Serenade for chamber ensemble and Op 34 piano quintet, along with Schubert’s Quartettsatz (3rd December).
There are also two lunchtime concerts of more than passing interest at Upper Chapel involving pianist Tim Horton.
At the first (24th November), viola player Ruth Gibson offers a transcription of Franck’s Violin Sonata, Britten’s Lachrymae and arrangements of four movements from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet ballet.
The second (8th December) features double bass player Laurène Durantel playing two Beethoven cello works, the Bei Männerin Variations and Sonata No 2 (neither transposed), the Passacaglia from Biber’s Rosary Sonatas and as the second pair of hands in a four-hand piano arrangement of Wagner’s Mastersingers Overture!
All concerts are at the Crucible Studio, except where noted.