Music International Festival of Bir Miftuh - 2015 [fr]

To celebrate its 50th Anniversary, Din I-Art Helwa is pleased to announce the 19th edition of the Bir Miftuħlnternational Music Festival. This year, the Festival will comprise four concerts, with the participation of International and local high-calibre artists who aim to delight the audience with select and fascinating repertoires. Since its inception, this spring music festival has been highly acclaimed and is patronised by a special audience who relishes beautiful music in the unique ambience of the Medieval church of Santa Marija ta’ Bir Miftuħ, in Gudja, where all four concerts are to take place.

As one of it’s the prime sponsors and organisers, the Embassy of France, via the patronage of the Ambassador of France H.E. Ms Beatrice Le Fraper Du Hellen and the Cultural Counsellor Mr. Laurent Croset, together with the Alliance Française de Malte – Méditerranée, will be presenting a concert dedicated to French composer, George Onslow, (referred to many as “The French Beethoven”) performed by the String Ensemble Cincievski. The Ensemble will delight the audience with George Onslow’s enchanting String Quintet No. 11 Op. 33 and No. 12 Op. 34.

This String concert is to take place at the Church of Santa Marija ta’ Bir Miftuħ, in Gudja, on Saturday, 23rd May 2015 at 8.00pm.



Cost: €20 per person, which includes a reception after the performance in the medieval chapel’s grounds.

Reservations can be made to Din l-Art Ħelwa at 21225952/21220358 or


String Quintet No. 11 in B flat , Op. 33

I. Allegro con brio
II. Andante maestoso
III. Minuetto non troppo presto
IV. Finale; Allegro grazioso

String Quintet No.11 dates from 1828. Although the opening movement is marked Allegro con brio, the opening bars to the Quintet in a rather genial fashion. However, not long after Onslow introduces several downward quick chromatic passages. And, in fact, the rest of the movement is dominated by quick and lively passages which are deftly passed from voice to voice.

The second movement, Andante mestoso, begins quietly. The first half of the main theme is somber, almost funereal, while the second part expresses a sense of pleading. The development long scale-like passages which are used to telling dramatic effect.

The third movement is marked Minuetto non troppo presto. This is really a misnomer for the movement is really fleet-footed scherzo in which there is a tremendous sense of forward motion as in a wild race.

After the breathless third movement, the finale, Allegro grazioso, almost sounds relaxed. The main theme is has a definite measured quality but then, almost without warning this melody is interrupted by long cascades of racing passages which match those of the other movements in their energy and excitement.

String Quintet No. 12 in A, Op. 34

I. Allegro
II. Minuetto
III. Agadio espressivo
IV. Finale; Allegro non tanto Presto

String Quintet No.12, Op.34 dates from the composer’s middle period. It was completed in 1829 and immediately published whereupon it became immensely popular. It is not hard to understand why. The opening movement, a big and fecund Allegro, begins with the first cello stating the appealing and somewhat slow and yearning main theme. Immediately, the tempo picks up as the others join in. The second theme is equally charming and the conclusion quite exciting.

The second movement, although marked Menuetto, is actually a somewhat pounding, chromatic scherzo. The contrasting trio is a simple but lovely folkdance.

Next comes an Adagio espressivo, which serves as the slow movement. A gorgeous, valedictory melody is played over an accompaniment of soft pizzicati. Gradually, we hear a heavenly duet in the form of a chorale. This is some of the finest chamber music writing to be found in the entire literature, almost the equal of the slow movement in Schubert’s quintet. In the wonderful middle section, the second cello (bass) comes into its own with very telling chromatic passages.

The finale, Allegro non troppo presto, begins with a bright, virtuosic theme over a very effective pizzicato accompaniment. The quintet is brought to a memorable finish with a thrilling coda.


Vincenzo Picone - Violon
Matteo Colombo - Violon
Matthew Fenech - Viola
Mario Psaila - Violoncelle
Gjorgji Cincievski - Contrebasse

The String Ensemble Cincievski is a newly founded music group focusing on the research, presentation and performance of musical pieces which have been either forgotten with time or simply neglected by other performers. Another characteristic element of this ensemble is their wish to premiere contemporary works that were originally written for them. The idea of founding this ensemble came from Gjorgji Cincievski, hence the name of the Ensemble. The very versatile nature of this ensemble has united them via the music of G. Onslow, H.Cassadesus, J. Brahms, F. Schubert, J.S. Bach, D. Shuplevski amongst many others. The String Ensemble Cincievski is made up of highly skilled professional musicians, each equally providing their special input, thus giving the ensemble its unique character.

BIOGRAPHY - George Onslow

George Onslow (1784-1853), certainly illustrates the fickleness of fame. He was born the son of an English father and French mother. By many nicknamed “The French Beethoven” , his vast opus of 36 string quartets and 34 string quintets were, during his own lifetime and up to the end of the 19th century, held in the highest regard, particularly in Germany, Austria, France and England where he was regularly placed in the front rank of composers. His work was admired by both Beethoven and Schubert, the latter modeling his own 2 cello quintet (D.956) on those of Onslow and not, as is so often claimed, on those of Boccherini. Schumann and Mendelssohn ranked Onslow’s chamber music with that of the same mastery as Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn.

During his lifetime, Onslow, above all, was known as the composer of string quintets for 2 violins, viola and 2 cellos. With the exception of Boccherini, all of the other major composers before him, including Mozart and Beethoven, wrote string quintets for 2 violins, 2 violas and cello. (Schubert’s great work remained undiscovered until 1850 and unknown for another decade after that.) Although the first 3 of Onslow’s string quintets were for the standard 2 violins, 2 violas and cello, thereafter, his quintets, with the exception of his last three, were for 2 cellos and one viola. Onslow began providing alternative bass parts to all of his subsequent quintets, in lieu of a second cello, after hearing the famous bassist Dragonetti substitute for an absent second cellist during a performance of his tenth string quintet.

As tastes changed after the First World War, his music, along with that of so many other fine composers, fell into oblivion and up until 1984, the bicentennial of his birth, he remained virtually unknown. Since then, his music, to the delight of players and listeners alike, is slowly being rediscovered, played and recorded. Onslow’s writing was unique in that he was successfully able to merge the drama of the opera into the chamber music idiom perfected by the Vienna masters. Artist rediscovering his opus, very often place him amongst the best chamber music composers, even more placing his string quintets into some of the best string quintets written in all times.


- Friday, 15th May 2015
Piano, Violin and Horn Performance by the ‘Conrads in Concert’ composed of Elizabeth Conrad – Piano,

The musicians will regale the audience with fascinating works by Duvernoy, Reinecke, Brahms, Granados, de Falla, Buyanowski and Mompou.

- Saturday, 30th May 2015
Violin and Guitar Concert by the Musica Nova Duo with Massimo de Bonfils - Violin and Luca Minervino - Guitar from the Accademia di Santa Cecilia.
This concert is being made possible by the support of the Istituto Italiano di Cultura under the patronage of the Embassy of Italy, within the frame of the activities for the promotion EXPO Milano 2015 and in collaboration with the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia.

This concert features captivating excerpts from Operas by Gioacchino Rossini.

- Saturday, 13th June 2015
Guitar and Flute Concert by the Duo Liat Cohen - BOULANGER Prize, guitar and Moshe Aron Epstein – flute
This concert is being made possible through the patronage of the Embassy of Israel.

The Duo will entertain the audience with marvellous works by Giuliani, Zequinha de Abreu and Villa Lobos.

Block tickets for all four concerts and receptions cost €65 per person, tickets for three concerts and receptions cost €50 per person, tickets for two concerts and receptions cost €35 per person.
For further information, please contact Din l-Art Ħelwa office, tel. nos. 21225952/21220358 Monday to Friday between 8.30a.m. - 12.30p.m., or send an email to

Dernière modification : 07/05/2015

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