We have heard from a variety of sources that last weekend’s Festival was considered to be of a remarkably high quality. Now the Festival has received its first review in the national press – a column published on the Sunday Times website today by the paper’s chief music critic Mr Hugh Canning.
Under the sub-heading “Southwell Music Festival is the new kid on the block, but already it’s a wow for Hugh Canning” he suggests that Southwell Minster’s status as one or Britain’s best-kept secrets may change following the establishment of the Festival.
Having attended both of the first two festivals Mr Canning is ideally placed to judge our progress, saying that “If last year’s Creation was a bold and brave opener, [Elijah] was a clear indication that Southwell can already equal, even surpass, more established festivals.”
In 2014 he sensed “a community event of an astoundingly high standard” when attending what he describes as “a vivid, life-enhancing performance of Haydn’s The Creation”. He is equally full of praise for this year’s Elijah and everyone connected with it – “one of the most gripping live performances I have heard”.
Hugh Canning also enjoyed our Schubertiade and in particular the Trout Quintet: “A thrillingly fresh account of a much-performed work…I’ve heard less gripping readings from much bigger names.”
He also attended the late-night performance of Haydn’s The Seven Last Words of Our Saviour on the Cross given in the round and in semi-darkness beneath the Minster’s central tower and found this possibly the most memorable concert of all that he attended.
We are delighted that Hugh Canning should have made not one but two evidently enjoyable visits to Southwell and his comments will be much appreciated by everyone connected with the Festival who has done so much to bring it about.
This year Hugh also took part in the Festival himself – conducting the highly enjoyable illustrated conversation with our Patron Dame Felicity Lott: we are most grateful to him for doing so. Hugh’s full article on the Sunday Times website can be found here where it sits behind a paywall.
With best wishes