International Spring Orchestra Festival returns

The International Spring Orchestra Festival is back this weekwith 13 concerts that will take place over five days, kicking off with Manuel de Falla’s El Amor Brujo under the baton of French conductor Raoul Lay and the Ensemble Télémaque from Marseille, with Maltese mezzo-soprano Clare Ghigo as soloist.

For the opening night on Tuesday, the Ensemble Télémaque will be joined by violinist Maria Conrad and her string quartet, clarinet players, Godfrey Mifsud and Lino Pirotta, and percussionist Daniel Cauchi.

The festival, which is now in its seventh edition, is directed by composer Karl Fiorini. The programme will also consist of Ives’ Unanswered Question and La Oracion del Torero by Turina.

This year marks an important date in the history of music, with Wagner’s bicentenary birth anniversary and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring having been premiered at the Theatre des Champs Elysées a hundred years ago. The idea behind the festival is also to pay homage to these two controversial personalities.

“Although we do not have the means to do the orchestral version of Stravinsky’s iconic work, we are including the two-piano version that Stravinsky himself had privately played with Debussy in early 1913. Pianist Charlene Farrugia and Italian virtuoso Nazareno Ferruggio will do the honours on Wednesday,” said Fiorini.

To commemorate Wagner, the Re: Orchestra from Rotterdam will be performing Siegrfied’s Idyll on the closing evening, together with Respighi’s Il Tramonto and Shostakovich’s fiery Chamber symphony under the baton of Roberto Beltran-Zavala. Beltran-Zavala will also be conducting his orchestra on Thursday with a programme that includes Vivaldi, Martinu and the world premier of up-and-coming Dutch composerMarlijn Helder, with a dynamic double concerto for violin and cello.

On Friday, the Paris-based Elixir piano quartet will be performing Brahm’s, Faure’s and Fiorini’s piano quartets. Every day at 12.30 and 7pm, local artists and duos will be giving recitals at the Sala Isouard.

The International Spring Orchestra Festival is taking place between Tuesday and Saturday. For reservations call the Manoel Theatre on 2124 6389.


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