Interview: Peter McCarthy

The Stow Festival tries to make sure that as many musical styles as possible are included, and classical music is no exception. We spoke to Music in the Village’s Peter McCarthy ahead of the performance from Collegium Musicum 90 on Thursday night.

Hi Peter. Can you tell us a bit more about Music in the Village? what it is and how it all began?

Music in the Village operates as a not for profit local organisation: the whole box office goes to the performers after the necessary expenses have been deducted. It’s now in its tenth year.

I moved to Walthamstow in the 1990s and rapidly came to love our thriving, diverse and homely borough.  It seemed a bit short of short of classical music though and one day I mentioned starting a concert series to harpsichordist/director Trevor Pinnock, over a pint of beer.  He immediately declared he would do the first concert if I got it off the ground, thereby setting a very high standard for any concerts that followed!

What have been the highlights this year so far for Music in the Village?

Well, they all seem to be highlights! At each concert so far, someone has come up to me and said it was the best concert so far.

Three things I would point to are the Medieval group “the Artisans” led by the brilliant Emily Askew – they got everyone’s feet tapping; our January concert with some of the many fine baroque specialist musicians who have settled locally; an electrifying performance of Schubert’s Death and the Maiden by the Fitwilliam Quartet.

On a very personal level, playing the bass viol for the first time in Couperin’s haunting Leçons de Ténebres with two really fine singers Grace Davidson and Natalie Clifton-Griffith, a concert I largely paid for myself, kind of in memory of my mother who had died earlier in the year.

What can people expect from Collegium Musicum 90?

Collegium Musicum 90 has a great reputation, both for baroque and classical music, from chamber pieces to large-scale works.  It has made more than sixty CDs!  Simon Standage and his players are just outstanding, and I think you can expect a really thrilling gig.

What’s next for Music in the Village? What have you got on the horizon?

Now this season is planned, I’m already looking ahead to the 2012-13.

Starting on 26 September 2013 with the wonderful fortepianist, Kristian Bezuidenhout, playing a programme of Mozart on the kind of piano Mozart himself would have known.

It’s always a bit of a magical mystery tour, finding ensembles and soloists who will come and play, and to keep the variety going.

This season coming, it’s really amazing that Emma Kirkby is coming: she is an icon of her times; I still can’t believe that two such great solo virtuosi – Trevor Pinnock and guitarist Xeufei Yang – have agreed to play; and I think the Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments will be an eye opener!

Music in the Village present Collegium Musicum 90 at St Mary’s Church on Thursday 20 September from 7.30pm. Tickets are £12 each and available on the door.

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