Malta 2018

Life has been quite busy over the summer, but autumn has come and with it, some time to reflect and recollect.

When the 2017/18 school year had reached its final week, I packed my suitcase to travel back to Manchester for rehearsals with Cosmo Strings. We were to prepare for a performance of Max Richter’s brilliant Vivaldi Recomposed which we were invited to perform at Malta International Arts Festival.

The festival, chaired by Dr Michelle Castelletti, this year was in its special European Capital of Culture edition. And with celebration and excellence as its motto, the festival exhibited the spectacular diversity that arts has to offer brought to life by some of today’s the most sought-after performers.

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra with Daniele Gatti, Hofesh Shechter with Kamea Dance Company, the Choir of Clare College Cambridge, Big Band Brothers and many others were part of the MIAF2018 and it was fantastic to be among them.

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The album Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi – The Four Seasons, released in 2012, is a re-composition of arguably the most famous piece of Classical music, Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. As a postmodernist rooted in the minimalist tradition Richter uses only about 25% of the original material and treats it with the characteristic minimalist techniques of looping and phasing. But the resulting score is far from repetitive or boring; on the contrary, Richter offers a new, original interpretation of this well-known music – full of colour, expression and energy.

Our performance of Richter was part of the Virtuosi series. Additionally, there were two other concerts – a solo recital by Kana Ohashi and a celebration of Debussy’s centenary with a programme of String Quartet, Estampes and Cello Sonata.

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Despite our tight rehearsal/performance schedule we did find some time to explore Valletta, the capital city of Malta where the festival was held, and enjoy its charming streets, sandstone scenery, glorious beaches and ever-present sunshine.

Altogether it certainly was celebration of beautiful music, together with beautiful people at a beautiful place, an essence that unites all the best music festivals all around the world. Thank you MIAF, thank you Malta!

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