The programme of music, organised in collaboration between Lord Shaftesbury and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, has been a great success, and plans for the 2016 series are under way.
The final concert includes Mozart’s Piano Trio in B-flat major, Brahms’ String Quintet in F major, Schubert’s String Trio in B-flat major and Dvořák’s Piano Quintet in A major. The programme will be performed by musicians from the annual International Musicians Seminar (IMS) Prussia Cove, which was founded by the Hungarian violinist, Sándor Végh and Hilary Tunstall-Behrens in Cornwall in 1972.
As with the previous, sold out, concerts in the series, the music is played in the library of St Giles House, and the audience then enjoys dinner in two of the reception rooms in the house.
The current, 12th Earl of Shaftesbury, Nick Ashley-Cooper, wanted to mark his ancestor the 10th Earl’s love of music. He was Chairman of the prestigious IMS Prussia Cove, and so it was fitting that the outstanding talent of this year’s musicians should be showcased at Wimborne St Giles.
The return of music to the house is possible after a four-year restoration project, which has brought the rooms back into habitable condition.
One of the highlights of the series was a performance, in July, by the soprano Ailish Tynan with pianist Iain Burnside, which included music linked with the house. Elgar’s song Pleading was dedicated to his close friend Lady Maud Warrender, who was the sister of the 9th Earl of Shaftesbury.
As with all Burnside’s eclectic compilations, the Music at St Giles evening introduced the audience to a wide variety of songs and styles, each of them perfectly interpreted by Cardiff Singer of the World recital winner Ailish Tynan.
They ranged from two songs about Paris – Dominic Muldowney’s amourous recollections and Dave Frishberg’s Another Song About Paris, questioning the need for one – through Handel’s heartbreaking Piangero fro Giulio Cesare, to Jake Heggie’s Three Songs, taking in Parry, Rorem and Faure along the way.
Audiences also had the chance to see the house and learn about the plans for further work to restore the house and its grounds and buildings.
In August Lord and Lady Shaftesbury were delighted to hear that they had won the 2015 Historic Houses Association Sotheby’s Restoration Award. Richard Compton, president of the HHA, said “Nick Shaftesbury has demonstrated extraordinary drive and imagination in bringing his family home back to life.”
Look out for news of the 2016 Music at St Giles series.