The second annual Franschhoek Chamber Music Festival with the CPO takes place from February 23 – 16 in the historic town. Featuring all the musicians of the CPO in smaller and more intimate groups, the 11 recitals also include international artists. Priya Mitchell, who may be remembered from her Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival appearances some years ago, will perform in several of the concerts in works such as the String Serenade by Tchaikovsky, the American Quartet by Dvorak and  The Lark Ascending by Vaughn Williams,  while another international star, Dirk Mommetz will be heard in the Tchaikovsky Piano Trio and Romeo and Juliet overture, arranged for two violins, viola, two celli, double bass and piano.

Apart from our own orchestral stars such as principal flute Gabriele von Durckheim and principal clarinet Ferrol-Jon Davids in Mozart and all the celli in the Bach Cello Suites, you can also hear pianists Esthea Kruger and Nina Schumann and soprano Lynelle Kenned.

We also focus on one South African composer per festival, and in this year’s one it is David Earl. Carin Bam will perform the cor Anglais in his Quintet for cor Anglais and string quartet on February 24.  Says the festival’s artistic director, Peter Marrens, the quintet is unique as very few other works (if any) exist for this combination. Like most of David’s works, the writing is typically Romantic and whereas some of his other works venture into the thicker textures associated with a more late Romantic compositional style, this particular work is characterised by its more transparent textures, balancing superbly the distinctive mellow timbre of the cor Anglais with the string quartet for which he has written adeptly.