Coming Soon: Fauré bucks the anniversary trend

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The Independent Culture

As the world, his wife, her orchestra and their opera house settle into the Handel/ Haydn/Purcell/Mendelssohn groove, how refreshing to find a festival that breaks the anniversary trend.

Gabriel Fauré is the focus of the Schubert Ensemble's (pictured) residence at London's Kings Place (020-7520 1490, 29 Apr-2 May). The Dante Quartet, the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge and Royal Academy of Music students join violinists Simon Blendis and Maya Koch, violist Douglas Paterson, cellist Jane Salmon and pianist William Howard in four days of concerts devoted to "Finding Fauré". Featured works include the Impromptus, the great 1924 String Quartet and, of course, the Requiem.

In Birmingham, from 18 April, Sakari Oramo, Ex Cathedra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Martin Roscoe and national treasure Peter Donahoe will be revelling in another Igorfest (0121-780 3333) at Symphony Hall and the CBSO Centre. Orpheus, Stravinsky's orchestral miniatures, Biblical works and music for two pianos are this season's themes. At Manchester's Bridgewater Hall (0161-907 9000), Gianandrea Noseda's 25 April concert performance of Berlioz's The Damnation of Faust with the BBC Philharmonic and Mark Elder's concert performances of the Prologue and Act 1 (9 May) and Acts II and III of Götterdämmerung (10 May) with the Hallé may make local opera-lovers wonder if they really need to provide a second home for the Royal Opera House.

On 11 April, harpsichordist Christophe Rousset directs Les Talens Lyriques in a rare performance of Charpentier's Leçons de ténèbres at London's Wigmore Hall (020-7935 2141) – a must for those who only know Couperin's more famous Leçons. Formed long before period instruments were regularly heard in leading concert halls, the Lufthansa Festival (020-7222 1061) celebrates its 25th birthday this year. Ivor Bolton and Concerto Köln begin an examination of works written between 1659-1759 in their 14 May performance of Handel's Athalia at St John's, Smith Square. The festival continues to 23 May, with performances of Cavalier, Restoration and Georgian music from the likes of Rachel Podger, Gary Cooper, the Harp Consort, the Early Opera Company and the irrepressible baroque oboe virtuoso, Alfredo Bernardini.

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