As we settle into a new year, Kettle’s Yard this term welcomes five young artists and ensembles – artists who have attracted awards and critical acclaim for their playing and programmes. And a recurrent theme in those programmes is the influence of folk music.
Bohemian music of 100 or 150 years ago evokes passion, keening melodies and whirling rhythms – a world that this year’s resident artist, violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen, inhabits through the music of Dvořák, Janáček and Smetana, finishing with Brahms’ own Hungarian Dances.
The folk music of the Ligeti Quartet’s programme starts in the same place, with Ligeti and Bartók and Eastern European influences in the work of American composer Lou Harrison. But it then takes fascinating excursions into Siberia and Africa.
I particularly enjoy the lilting, infectious and unmistakeably African rhythms of Fodé Lassana Diabaté, from Mali.
The other young quartet making their Kettle’s Yard series debut this year is the Ruisi Quartet with a programme of Haydn, Mozart (‘Dissonance’ quartet) and Mendelssohn
Regular attenders of the chamber music series will know how I love my piano recitals: there are so many wonderful pianists and yet the wider public seems only to know a dozen or so (admittedly fabulous) performers at the top of that tree. I urge you to try the Hungarian Daniel Lebhardt and the Russian-born Boris Giltburg who is already renowned for his interpretations of Rachmaninov. And if you remain unconvinced, try looking up Boris Giltburg on YouTube: there you will find excellent videos of his 2013 Southbank Centre recital where I first heard him live, playing Rachmaninov and Ravel and at least three encores including his own wonderful arrangement of some Gershwin. A thoroughly likeable character offering serious artistry and fun all in one evening.
These artists may be young (well, 30-ish – is that young?), but they are definitely worth hearing and, who knows, you may hear a star of the future.