I was at the Village Underground in Shoreditch last night for the Opera Group's performance of Harrison Birtwistle's Bow Down, being given as part of Spitalfieds Summer Festival. The festival is about half way through (it runs until 23 June), but there are still plenty of rather interesting events.
Paul McCreesh and his Gabrieli Consort and Players will be comparing and constrasting Stravinsky's Mass with early polyphony by Josquin and Willaert, plus some James MacMillan on Thursday 14th at Christ Church, Spitalfields, which still remains the festival's best location.
June 14 and 15 sees La Nuova Musica pairing Carissimi's Jephthe and Charpentier's Sacrificium Abrahae. June 15 and 16 has the Sixteen performing new music by Alec Roth to accompany monologues by Samuel Beckett with Alan Howard - a potent and curious combination.
Monday 18 June has the Monteverdi Choir performing unaccompanied for a change, with John Eliot Gardiner performing an all British programme - Tallis, White, Tomkins and Byrd. Cellist Matthew Barley is the soloist in a performance of John Tavener's The Protecting Veil on 20 June.
The festival finale on 23 June combines 200 voices, brass, pyrotechnics in a meditation on fire - the premiere of a new piece by David Bruce. Performers include a specially assembled choir (in fact I might have been singing myself if I hadn't been otherwise engage), plus the Opera Group, the Gabrieli Consort (who are giving the final formal concert of the festival earlier that evneing), Horns Aloud and The World Famous fire artists. 9pm and its free.