The first festival was reckoned a great success, artistically, financially and socially with a weekend of events in and around the minster which brought together audience and artists. Participants and organisers were keen for the festival to continue and they have built on last year's success by expanding the festival and by developing the important friends organisation. The 2015 festival programme will be officially launched at Southwell Minster on 13 March 2015.
Another concert at this year's festival will be of 20th century chamber music which will include Stravinsky's piano duet version of The Rite of Spring and Samuel Barber's Dover Beach. In celebration of this latter, Marcus Farnsworth then sang Samuel Barber's Three Songs, Op. 10. These were written in the period 1935 to 1937 when Barber was in Rome as a result of winning the Prix de Rome which gave him a period of study at the American Academy in Rome. Barber set poems from James Joyce's 1907 collection, Chamber Music. Barber wrote a number of settings of Joyce, but published three, Three Songs, Op.10 as a group. All three are linked musically and thematically; though very different poems each is about a love affair: Rain has fallen, Sleep now and I hear an army. They are terrific songs and Farnsworth and Baillieu treated us to a thrilling performance of them.
Our concert finished with four musicians who play at the festival, Jamie Campbell and Maria Wloszczowska violins, Ruth Nelson viola and Cara Berridge cello, coming together to give a terrific performance of Dvorak's String Quartet No. 12 in F Major (The American). A work written in 1893 during Dvorak's summer holiday from his job as director of the National Conservatory in New York. For all the American tag, and possible American influences in the melodic material, the work is full of Dvorak's familiar melodies and sprung Czech rhythms, and the young players gave us a vibrant and vivid performance.
|Haydn's Creation at the 2014 Southwell Music Festival, |
conducted by Marcus Farnsworth
The present Southwell Minster dates back to the 1100's but the building is on the site of an Anglo-Saxon minster which was re-built in the 12th and 13th centuries. The minster survived the Reformation relatively unscathed and became a cathedral in 1884.