Stellar line-up for 10-day festival

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Music at Paxton Festival has launched the 2017 programme – and once again it welcomes top class international chamber music to Paxton House on the banks of the River Tweed in July.

The daily concerts offer an intimate, friendly and relaxed experience and take place in Paxton House’s Picture Gallery.

With its large, domed roof-light that lets in the summer sun, and walls hung high with paintings from the National Galleries of Scotland’s collection, it is an idyllic setting for chamber music.

The string quartet features prominently and the festival welcomes three this year: The Elias Quartet (Saturday, July 22, 7.30pm), which makes its Paxton debut with Schubert’s String Quartet in D minor Death and the Maiden and Schumann’s Piano Quintet; the Carducci Quartet (Saturday, July 15, 7.30pm) with a programme of Shostakovich, Arvo Pärt, Philip Glass, and Ravel’s gloriously sunny Introduction and Allegro; and the Quatuor Zaïde, from Paris (Tuesday, July 18, 7.30pm), which opens with the glittering sonorities of Debussy, followed by Schubert’s towering G major Quartet.

Harpsichord virtuoso Mahan Esfahani returns with two recitals. His morning concert features music by Rameau, Martinů, and Swiss composer Pieter Mieg (Sunday, July 16, 11.30am). He returns that evening to perform J S Bach’s Goldberg Variations.

No stranger to Music at Paxton, pianist Steven Osborne (Friday, July 14, 7.30pm) will perform his interpretations of Rachmaninov’s virtuosic tonal studies Études Tableaux Op 33 and Études Tableaux Op 39, alongside Debussy and Brahms’ pieces.

Pieter Wispelwey returns to complete the set of Suites for Solo Cello by J S Bach (Sunday, July 23, at 6pm), with a public masterclass immediately before.

On Thursday, July 20, Baroque violinist Bojan Cicic brings his star-studded Illyria Consort for a feast of Baroque music.

The festival continues its relationship with Live Music Now Scotland and sees the return of many of their alumni.

Featured artists in this year’s festival are Sirocco Winds, Emma Wilkins (alumni) and Calum Robertson, Marco Ramelli and Aonach Mòr (current).

New this year will be the Promenade Concert, taking in some of Paxton House’s reception rooms and featuring music from Emma Wilkins (flute), Esther Swift (harp) and Calum Robertson (clarinet) (Saturday, July 15, 4pm).

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