In retrospect it may have been tempting fate to conclude our 24th Festival with Messiaen’s extraordinary quartet that announces the End of Time. This is really a late night work, famously first performed in a Silesian prisoner of war camp in the depths of winter. For those prisoners it must have seemed that the four horsemen of the Apocalypse had indeed arrived while our own times also seem to edge closer to the abyss.
Last summer’s Bantry performance featured four exceptional musicians, violinist Henning Kraggerud who never fails to astonish with his musicianship, the brilliant young cellist Laura van der Heijden mature beyond her years, the remarkable Slovenian clarinettist Mate Bekavac and a favourite Bantry pianist Alexei Grynyuk. Together they deliver a performance, tumultuous in the great collective movements, yearningly beautiful in the three quiet movements, where the soloists honour the composer’s vision with the intensity of their playing.
From this coming Friday our virtual festival will present a dozen filmed concerts featuring almost forty of the artists who should have come to Bantry this summer. These films are the nearest we could get to live performances with our musicians scattered all over Europe and the USA. It has been a challenging process bringing them together, only made possible by the generosity of our musicians, audience and donors, who, along with our funders, have kept faith with the Festival.
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