The Presteigne Festival 2015 was perhaps one of the best ever, based as it was around the Scandinavian titans, Sibelius and Nielsen. The Composer-in-Residence this year was Matthew Taylor, with new commissions and previously written works. He also lent his humorous and knowledgeable presence to talks and discussions. Among other splendid new commissions were works by Joseph Phibbs, David Matthews, Cecilia McDowall and David Knotts.
John McCabe was especially honoured and remembered, with marvellous performances of his piano duet work, Upon Entering a Painting, by Joseph Tong and Waka Hasegawa, and Tunstall Chimes (solo piano) by Tom Poster. The final, orchestral concert was entitled ‘In Honour of John McCabe’ and opened with his beautiful little autumnal tone-poem Red Leaves, lending the concert a wistful and nostalgic atmosphere, full of warmth and consolation. The performances throughout were remarkable in their consistent brilliance. Such wonderful artists deserve all the support we can give them, as do the composers, wide-ranging in age, style and nationality. All praise to the little town of Presteigne, and to the staff who organise and run the Festival.