OUR summer may be a washout, but there's a positive forecast for at least some musical sunshine over Corbridge next month.
Former Corbridge residents Lucy Gould of the world-famed Gould Piano Trio and husband Robert Plane, who has been principal clarinettist with Northern Sinfonia, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, will return to familiar territory from their Cardiff base with a handful of musician friends to launch this year's Corbridge Chamber Music Festival.
The three-day event, based at St Andrew's Church, has been running since 1999 and continues to attract musicians of international calibre. This summer's festival is from Friday to Sunday, August 5-7, and, in addition to the Goulds - violinist Lucy, cellist Alice Neary and pianist Benjamin Frith, pictured with Robert, second from the right - guest musicians include the Hallé's principal flute player Katherine Baker and Philharmonia harpist Lucy Wakeford.
The 2011 programme combines unexpected jewels with a wide range of chamber classics, such as the Ravel's Introduction and Allegro, Debussy's Flute, Harp and Viola Trio, Shostakovich's Piano Quintet (August 5, 7.45pm) and the immense Tchaikovsky Piano Trio -the Goulds' recent recording of which was BBC Music Magazine's Chamber Music CD of the Month in February - preceded by two Debussy works, Syrinx and Danses sacrée at profane, and Mozart's Flute Quartet in D major, K285 (August 7, 7.45pm).
The Saturday late-night candlelit concert at 10.15pm celebrates J S Bach, with one of his unaccompanied cello suites and the partita for solo violin. There is a Russian flavour to Sunday's 3pm Salon Concert with works by Les Vendredis, the Russian composers who regularly met on Friday evenings in St Petersburg, and the music is followed by afternoon tea and scones.
Other regular features are the popular Saturday morning Children's Concert, and the Sunday Festival Service, when Martin Neary, former Organist of Westminster Abbey, directs the Festival Singers & Strings in Schubert's Mass in G.
For further details and booking for the 2011 Corbridge Chamber Music Festival call The Queen's Hall Arts Centre, Hexham, on 01434 652477. Tickets are also available from Forum Books & Crafts, Corbridge, or on the door at St Andrew's.