Festival Schedule

Welcome to the 2024 Festival!

General booking opens on Tuesday 2 April. In the meantime please enjoy perusing the wonderful concert programmes we have on offer this year.

Download the Festival Brochure as a PDF that includes a postal booking form.

We look forward to welcoming you to this very special season of concerts in June and to sharing our Festival with audiences old and new. We hope there will be something for everyone to enjoy.

1) Festival Opening

Thursday 27 June, 8pm

Anthony Marwood, Richard Lester, Alasdair Beatson, Pablo Hernán Benedí, Chaeyoung Park, Eivind Ringstad, Barbican Quartet

  • Mozart Quintet in Eb major, K.452 (arranged for piano quartet)
  • Berg String Quartet, Op. 3
  • Beethoven Violin Sonata in A major, Op. 47 ‘Kreutzer’

Venue: Church of St Peter & St Paul, Peasmarsh

The 2024 Festival opens with some well-loved classics of the chamber repertoire, including Beethoven’s emotional and volatile Kreutzer Sonata (originally dedicated to the violinist George Bridgetower and premiered in infamous circumstances), and Mozart’s Quintet K452, best known as his quintet for piano and winds but first published (10 years after its premiere) in an arrangement for the more conventional line up of piano with string trio. Completing the programme is Berg’s early masterpiece for string quartet – one of his only forays into the chamber music genre.

2) Barbican Quartet / Young Composers

Friday 28 June, 12.30pm 

We are thrilled that students from Peasmarsh, Beckley, Winchelsea, Icklesham and Rye primary schools will again join us for this stellar showcase of their compositions, performed alongside the award-winning Barbican Quartet. The Quartet will also perform selected movements from the String Quartet canon, introducing our youngest audience members to this fantastic music.

This concert is FREE but tickets must be pre-booked as capacity is limited.

Venue: St Mary’s Church, Rye

3) Orchestral Concert

Friday 28 June, 8pm

Anthony Marwood, Richard Lester, Peter Facer and Sarah Burnett (soloists)
Britten Sinfonia

  • Haydn: Sinfonia Concertante in Bb major
  • Fauré: Élégie for cello and orchestra, O 24
  • Dvořák: Romance for violin and orchestra in F minor, Op. 11
  • Beethoven: Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21

Venue: St Mary’s Church, Rye

We are delighted to welcome back Britten Sinfonia for a concert which traces the journey of orchestral music from Haydn’s salon to the heights of the late nineteenth century. Haydn’s Sinfonia Concertante was composed and premiered in London in 1792 where it was hailed as “profound, airy, affecting, and original”. Fauré’s Élégie, originally written for solo cello and piano, and Dvořák’s Romance for violin and orchestra are both eloquent and gorgeous arias for these instruments. Coming full circle, the concert finishes with Beethoven’s first symphony, which strongly shows the influence of his teacher Haydn on the young composer.

4) Americana

Saturday 29 June, 11.30am

Anthony Marwood, Richard Lester, Alasdair Beatson, Pablo Hernán Benedí, Kate Maloney, Chaeyoung Park, Yoanna Prodanova, Eivind Ringstad, Christoph Slenczka

  • Dvořák: String Quartet No. 12 in F major, Op. 96 ‘American’
  • Elliott Carter: Sonata for Cello and Piano
  • Florence Price: Quintet for Piano and Strings No.2 in A minor

Venue: Church of St Peter & St Paul, Peasmarsh

American music is the focus for this morning concert, with Dvořák’s famous American Quartet paired with less well-known works by US composers Elliott Carter and Florence Price. The consummate 20th century musician, Elliott Carter was born in New York in 1908 and died in the same city in 2012. He wrote of his cello sonata that “the cellist should play Schönberg and the pianist Stravinsky at the same time”. We round off the programme with a beguiling piano quintet by the brilliant African American composer Florence Price, whose work is regaining deserved prominence after several decades out of the spotlight.

5) Early Evening Concert

Saturday 29 June, 6pm

Anthony Marwood, Richard Lester, Alasdair Beatson, Pablo Hernán Benedí, Chaeyoung Park, Eivind Ringstad, Barbican Quartet

  • Schubert: Fantasia in F minor for piano four hands, D.940
  • Schumann: String Quartet in A major, Op. 41 No. 3
  • Weinberg: Piano Quintet, Op. 18

Venue: Church of St Peter & St Paul, Peasmarsh

For this concert we perform fantastical works by Schubert and Schumann, with the intense and remarkable quintet by Weinberg. Schubert wrote his Fantasia for piano four hands (two players at one piano) in the last year of his life and dedicated it to his pupil Caroline Esterházy. Schumann’s string quartet Op. 41 No. 3 (one of only three that Schumann wrote, in quick succession) was also given a dedication – this time to Mendelssohn whom the younger composer had met in 1835. Polish Jewish composer Mieczysław Weinberg escaped from his homeland to the Soviet Union in 1939, where he studied at the Minsk Conservatory and later moved to Moscow and became friends with Shostakovich. His Piano Quintet, composed in 1944, is the work of a composer whose independent creative voice is revered by violinist Gidon Kremer as one of the most valuable of the 20th century.

6) An Unbroken Chain

Saturday 29 June, 9.30pm

Anthony Marwood, Richard Lester, Alasdair Beatson, Chaeyoung Park, Barbican Quartet

  • Silvestrov Hommage à JSB for violin and piano
  • Webern Variations for piano, Op. 27’
  • Music by Byrd and Tallis for string quartet
  • Gabrielli Ricercar for solo cello

Venue: Church of St Peter & St Paul, Peasmarsh

A meditative presentation of magical miniature gems, from 16th century music by English composers William Byrd and Thomas Tallis through to Valentin Silvestrov’s Hommage à JSB (Johann Sebastian Bach) which was written in 2009. Anton Webern’s 6-minute piece Variations is his only published work for solo piano and is known for its atmospheric effect. The works will be performed without a break.

7) Coffee Concert

Sunday 30 June, 11.30am 

Alasdair Beatson, Eivind Ringstad, Barbican Quartet

  • Fauré Theme and Variations for solo piano, Op. 73
  • Hindemith Fantasy Sonata for solo viola, Op. 25 No. 1
  • Ravel String Quartet in F major

Venue: Church of St Peter & St Paul, Peasmarsh

For Sunday morning we have a trio of works from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, starting with Fauré’s Theme and Variations for solo piano which was premiered in London in 1896. Fauré’s pupil Ravel wrote only one string quartet, in 1903, and it has become a much-loved staple of the repertoire. These pieces are juxtaposed by Paul Hindemith’s 1922 Sonata for solo viola which demonstrates the rich texture and sonority of the viola as a solo instrument.

8) Decoding An Enigma

Sunday 30 June, 4.30pm

Richard Lester, Pablo Hernán Benedí, Eivind Ringstad and Amarins Wierdsma, with musicologist Richard Wigmore 

  • Fauré: String Quartet in E minor, Op. 121.

Venue: Church of St Peter & St Paul, Peasmarsh

This was Fauré’s only string quartet, written shortly before his death in 1924, the composer having previously expressed trepidation about the “difficulty” of writing for these forces. We present this beautiful but elusive work in full, preceded by an illuminating introduction given by our distinguished guest speaker.

9) Finale

Sunday 30 June, 7pm

Anthony Marwood, Richard Lester, Alasdair Beatson, Pablo Hernán Benedí, Chaeyoung Park, Eivind Ringstad, Barbican Quartet

  • Ligeti Five Pieces for piano four hands
  • Beethoven String Quartet in F major Op. 59 No. 1 ‘Razumovsky’
  • Schumann Piano Quintet in E flat major Op. 44

Venue: Church of St Peter & St Paul, Peasmarsh

Bringing the 2024 festive to a rousing and energetic close are works by Ligeti, Beethoven and [Robert] Schumann. Ligeti’s Five Pieces for piano four hands is suffused with Hungarian timbre and rhythm, whilst Beethoven’s first ‘Razumovsky’ quartet famously closes with an allegro titled ‘Thème Russe’ in honour of the work’s commissioner Prince Razumovsky. Schumann’s towering piano quintet is dedicated to his wife Clara, who was supposed to perform in the premiere but fell ill and was replaced at the last minute by Mendelssohn who pronounced the piano part ‘fiendish’.