… Less Than Four Weeks To Go!


In only four weeks time Southwell will once again be taken over by the Music Festival’s inspiring ensemble of singers and players bringing their talent, energy and enthusiasm to the town.

More than eighty of the best professional musicians from across the UK and further afield will take part in our fifth annual festival running this year from Wednesday 22nd to Monday 27th August.

I’d like to highlight four programmes that showcase these outstanding performers:

Bach’s Mass in B minor – Wednesday 22nd August, 7.30pm, The Nave
The Festival is fortunate to attract some of the best consort singers who perform regularly with the likes of The Sixteen, The Tallis Scholars and the Gabrieli Consort.

This supreme expression of JS Bach’s genius will be given a chamber performance on period instruments with the solo and chorus parts being sung by nine members of the Festival Voices. I will be directing this performance and joining as the tenth singer.

Piano Recital by Clare Hammond – Saturday 25th August, 1.00pm, The Nave
Pianist Clare Hammond was brought up in Nottingham and has since gone on to establish a glowing reputation – winning the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Young Artist Award as well as praise from The Telegraph for the “amazing power and panache” of her playing.

Clare has developed a reputation for her imaginative concert programmes and her Southwell programme is no exception – ranging from a Haydn Sonata to Stravinsky’s Petroushka Suite by way of The Flight of the Bumblebee and several Debussy Preludes. An exciting programme with a humorous twist.

Chamber Classics: The Czech Connection – Thursday 23rd and Friday 24th August, 7.00pm, The State Chamber
This programme has everything – intimacy, lyricism and drama. It gives audiences the chance to enjoy the talent of our musicians at close quarters – in the musical conversation of Dvorak’s String Sextet, the evocative melody of Dvorak’s Gypsy Songs performed by soprano Alison Rose, and the drama of Janacek’s The Diary of One who Disappeared, which brings the opera stage into the State Chamber.

Janacek’s song cycle sets poems about a farmer who falls for and runs off with a gypsy girl. This passionate music channels Janacek’s love for his muse Kamila Stosslova – a much younger woman and another man’s wife. It is performed by two leading soloists – mezzo Madeleine Shaw and tenor Andrew Tortise.

For the Fallen: An Armistice Commemoration – Sunday 26th August, 7.30pm, The Nave
The brilliant Festival Chamber Soloists – the pick of the crop of our instrumentalists – take centre stage for this moving concert.

The first half reflects on the tragedy of war from the perspectives of Debussy, Butterworth and Josef Suk. It also includes Stuart MacRae’s setting of Wilfred Owen’s poem reworking the parable of Abraham and Isaac – in which the modern day Abraham “slew his son/And half the seed of Europe, one by one.”

In the second half we present Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale – a setting for instrumental septet and narrator of the parable of a soldier who sells his fiddle to the devil in return for unlimited financial gain.

Some tickets for these concerts are still available – either online at www.southwellmusicfestival.com/onlinebooking or by calling 0115 989 5555 or visiting the Southwell Cathedral Shop.

We look forward to seeing you next month.