Directed by Anthony Steel, the Festival encompasses two days of chamber music, fine food, wine and conviviality amid the autumn tones of McLaren Vale. Anthony says: “The 20th Coriole Music Festival attempts to follow its well-established and proud tradition of programming works that are significant, make good musical sense when listened to side by side during a fairly intense weekend, are not heard regularly in normal concert seasons and are played by fine musicians carefully chosen for their affinity with the selected repertoire”.
The 2018 program will include performances by two Russian born first-prize winners of the Sydney International Piano Competition: Andrey Gugnin(Coriole’s featured pianist for 2018) and Adelaide’s own Konstantin Shamray, playing together for the first time, and an appearance by one of Australia’s most celebrated small choirs, The Choir of St James’ from the church of St James in King Street Sydney, together with the Tinalley String Quartet in its third year as Coriole’s quartet in residence, and young baritone Daniel Carison.
The three concerts are performed in the Coriole barrel room, renowned for its acoustic for chamber and vocal music. Each concert is followed by a shared meal in the Coriole courtyard, where performers and patrons can mingle while enjoying delicious food prepared by chef Tom Reid – including a gourmet lunch on Saturday -and fine Coriole wines.
The weekend’s music-making covers four strands of programming. Igor Stravinsky assumes pride of place with two of his major works for smaller forces to be heard on Saturday – The Rite of Spring in the composer’s own arrangement for piano four hands, a pianistic tour de force to be played by Andrey Gugnin and Konstantin Shamray, and his Suite The Soldier’s Tale with the Coriole Ensemble, a septet of leading musicians from the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and the Elder Conservatorium, conducted by Konstantin Shamray. Two further splendid, quite rarely heard and more intimate, works of Stravinsky’s will be heard on Sunday.
Music by Johann Sebastian Bach, which sits so well with that of Stravinsky, begins each of the concerts. His genius is there for all to hear in two of his best-known motets, to be sung by the choir of St James’ on their first visit to Coriole; selections from his final masterpiece The Art of Fugue played by Tinalley and Gugnin; and the monumental Chaconne for solo violin, with Lerida Delbridge from the Tinalley Quartet.
Two stalwarts of the 19th century Romantic period are represented – in the case of Schumann by everyone’s favourite piano pieces Scenes from Childhood and the Opus 39 Liederkreis, to be sung by Daniel Carison who, unlike many of his young colleagues, has a particular interest in singing Lieder . The weekend wraps up with one of Brahms’ greatest works of chamber music, his Piano Quintet, which brings together Andrey Gugnin and the Tinalley String Quartet.
The fourth programming element features three composers from the first half of the 20th century with very different reactions to Romanticism. Bartok’s first string quartet displays his early Romantic influences before turning to more typically astringent music. Richard Strauss’ Metamorphosen could be seen as a requiem for Romanticism. And two examples’ of Francis Poulenc’s incomparable skill at writing for a capella choir reject, in their honest straightforwardness, the whole Romantic notion.