A boutique music event attracting some of the classical genre’s brightest stars, Cambridge Music Festival returns this month with a dazzling line-up of talent. The first date for your diary is 6 November, when the majestic King’s College Chapel will host a performance by its own world-class choir, singing Handel’s coronation anthems.
First performed in 1727 for King George II and Queen Caroline’s crowning, these pieces were an instant hit; the most famous being Zadok the Priest, which has been performed at every British coronation since (not to mention serving as the inspiration behind the UEFA Champions’ League football anthem!).
Another performance not to miss is that of cellist Natalie Clein at the beautiful Trinity College Chapel on the 12th, playing a collection of masterworks from the First World War period, which includes pieces by Debussy, the Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály and the English composer Rebecca Clarke.
Clarke lived at a time when women composers were still frowned on by society, and Natalie is particularly excited about bringing the little-known cello version of her virtuosic, tender Viola Sonata to wider attention. “It has moments of longing and seems to be calling out to large landscapes and large skies,” she says. “I like to imagine that Clarke was thinking of America, which at that time perhaps seemed a place of greater possibility and freedom.”
While Natalie modestly regards herself as a mere conduit for these composers’ work, her performances are the result of exactly this sort of personal engagement, and she has a reputation for intense, passionate recitals. “When you rehearse a piece, you live with it, and it lives with you,” she muses. “The longer that happens, the more it evolves and expands as a vision… There is no such thing as a perfect performance, ever. But there are moments where you think: ‘Yes, I hit some kind of a truth there, it felt honest.’ They are few and far between, but striving for them is the pain and the glory of what performers do.”
Elsewhere on the programme, catch the Britten Sinfonia at Ely Cathedral (9 November), spellbinding piano and multimedia works inspired by internet culture at the Mumford (13 November), and Joshua Bell playing Mendelssohn at West Road Concert Hall (14th). Visit the website for the full programme.