We have shamefully ignored this news page during the Festival, only just keeping up with Facebook and Twitter posts. To partially make amends, here is the final Facebook post of the Festival:
Much less surprising than a gorgeous Bank Holiday weekend was an excellent closing day of the 2018 Oxford May Music Festival. The hottest May Day Bank Holiday on record saw a good crowd at our first event of the day, in which Jack and two Sasha’s - Sitkovetsky and Raikhlina - took turns to pair off in a succession of scintillating duos. Sasha Sitkovetsky invited audience members to pass between him and Sasha Raikhlina, since apparently in Russia it is considered good luck to pass between two people with the same name! We certainly had good luck in having such masters of their instruments to play for us.. particularly fascinating were the arrangements of Scarlatti sonatas by a school friend of Jack and Sasha S. While one could plainly hear the keyboard original, the arrangements, as the best arrangements do, brought new aspects and depth to the pieces. The concert ended with the well known Handel-Halvorsen duo, with Sasha S. playing the arranged viola part on violin with Jack on the original violin part. The climax of this piece is always a great “finisher”!
Our lecturer, David Owen, was born near Oxford and trained in Oxford but now resides in that "other place" in the Fens. He gave an extremely approachable presentation of a very complex subject - how the materials necessary for the functioning of the cell are passed around into and within it. He showed results that were still in the process of analysis in his laboratory - science truly at the cutting edge, on which Oxford May Music prides itself. Again the crowd of festival goers wishing to discuss the lecture had to be gently eased in the direction of the sunny quadrangle while the screen and projector were dismounted at the end of the Festival's talks.
The final concert was, as always, a pleasure. Although everyone seemed sorry to be at the end of another exciting event, there was also the pleasure of accomplishment that it had succeeded so well. Several of our musicians, Jack of course included, had been with us for the whole Festival and played a prodigious quantity of notes. They were back again in force. Talking of prodigious quantities of notes, the Korngold piano quintet is an extraordinary piece. There are glimpses of the "Captain Blood" and "The Sea Hawk", but also the Schoenberg we heard on Saturday; but mostly it demonstrates a completely unique and startling voice. The audience, including very unusually Graham Keen, our virtuoso page turner, were almost all unfamiliar with this work but enjoyed it thoroughly. Mozart and Brahms were the other featured composers - a combination to savour. The applause was unconstrained.
So ends the 11th Oxford May Music. As always, there are many happy memories. As the audience and the musicians disperse to the four corners of the world - almost literally as we have regulars both from Melbourne and Los Angeles - we pack away, do the accounts, and look forward to the next Festival, from May 2nd to 6th, 2019. See you then!
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We are delighted to announce the exciting programme for the 11th Oxford May Music Festival!
Once again we will be organising an exhibition throughout the Festival. This consists of folios and gouaches created by George Nama in response to Alfred Brendel’s poetry (previously read by the author at the festival in 2014) and will be hung in the beautiful and restful space of the SJE cloisters.
There are too many highlights to pick out, but lecturers include well-known author and broadcaster, Professor Frank Close, who will telling a fascinating true story of scientists, spies, MI5 and music, all taking place in the environs of Oxford. We are delighted to welcome internationally acclaimed artists visiting the Festival for the first time, such as Julian Bliss (clarinet), Craig Ogden (guitar) and the Silver-Garburg piano duo. A host of other distinguished musicians are returning to the festival including Thomas Carroll, Danny Driver, Simon Oswell, Filipe Pinto-Ribeiro, Sasha Sitkovetsky, and of course our artistic director, Jack Liebeck.
Booking can be made immediately via the booking page on this site. The Tickets Oxford webpages for the Festival will be going live shortly.
We regret that continuing difficulty in raising corporate sponsorship means that we will have to increase prices across the board for Festival events in 2018. In addition, we have decided to shorten the Festival by one day, so that the events will now begin on Thursday May 3rd. This will produce a further necessary saving in costs. We are very grateful for the numerous Friends who have come forward either to renew their subscriptions early and/or to donate very substantial sums for the Festival. Without this help, it is doubtful that we would have been able to hold the 2018 Festival. If you have not already, please consider becoming a Friend in order to safeguard the Festival's future. The web page can be found here.