The adventurous line-up of musicians includes pianist Joanna MacGregor and viol virtuoso Paolo Pandolfo. Curating is former artistic director of Lufthansa Festival and Radio 3 producer Lindsay Kemp.
Seven events open with McGregor's programme (7.30PM, 5 Jan) of mould-breaking works by Byrd, Purcell and Rameau that she relates directly to the soundwords of modern Messiaen, and living composers Harrison Birtwistle and Philip Glass.
Other highlights include a recital by Italian viola da gamba player Paolo Pandolfo (4PM, 6 Jan) which ranges from fantasies and popular dance-tunes of the 16th century, through Bach and the French Baroque, to Pandolfo’s own spell-binding 21st-century improvisations.
In the first London performance of Clare Norburn’s concert-drama Breaking the Rules (7PM, 6 Jan), the singers of the Marian Consort and actor Gerald Kyd explore the extraordinary life and music of the 17th-century Italian prince and composer Carlo Gesualdo. He jealously murdered his wife and her lover, but went on to create deeply and unconventionally expressive music that later won fans from other times and places, including Igor Stravinsky and Frank Zappa.
Baroque music always has a following, but why another new festival? Kemp explains: 'The standard of performance and improvisation in Baroque music these days is incredibly high, but after many years of programming it in the "traditional" way, I’m planning a brand-new festival in which it can just be itself, freed from "historical context" and finding its own way into the modern world at the hands of talented and open-minded musicians from many different backgrounds.'
Other artists include: the brilliant young recorder player Tabea Debus and theorbo-player Alex McCartney (1PM, 6 Jan); rising star lutenist Thomas Dunford with Persian percussionist Keyvan Chemirani, in a Saturday late-night concert (9.30PM, 6 Jan); plus the exuberant percussion pairing O Duo (10.30AM, 7 Jan) in a Baroque-based family participation event; followed by a collaboration between two of Norway’s most open-minded artists, Bjarte Eike and Jon Balke (12.30PM, 7 Jan).
Tingling with those distinctive Baroque driving rhythms and shot through with modern music too, Baroque at the Edge promises to be a welcome and up-to-the-minute addition to the early music calendar.
|What||Baroque at the Edge, LSO St Luke's|
|Where||LSO St. Luke's, 161 Old Street, St. Luke's, Islington, London, EC1V 9NG | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Old Street (underground)|
05 Jan 18 – 07 Jan 18, seven events, times vary
|Price||£5 - £25|
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|