|Snape Maltings - photo Philip Vile|
|Snape Maltings - photo Ashley Dace, CC BY-SA 2.0,|
In 1938 Britten moved to a house in Snape village, the first of his houses in the Snape/Aldeburgh area. The house was on a hill, and overlooked the Snape Maltings, then still in use as a maltings. By 1965, the maltings were no more and the buildings were available as warehousing. It was Britten's visionary idea to turn the largest of the buildings into a concert hall. And this proved to have superb acoustics, a large rectangular shape with rough red bricks which have just the right acoustical qualities. As he shows us round Roger Wright also comments that the hall is highly democratic, there is no particular place where sight and sound are better than elsewhere.
|Semyon Bychkov conducting the Britten Pears Orchestra in Snape Maltings concert hall - photo Matt Jolly|
|Snape Maltings: The Hoffmann Building - photo Philip Vile|
Roger is, however, aware of the dangers. Snape Maltings (Aldeburgh Music has been renamed to reflect the new focus) still has the music campus as its core business, and Roger is keen to ensure that this stays that way and understands the need to ensure that the musical focus does not get overshadowed by the commercial, particularly in the plans to develop the ruined areas. Music at Snape Maltings is a year-round affair and the development of the ruined areas would allow the organisation to develop this further.
|Snape Maltings: the derelict buildings - photo Philip Vile|
The opening of the Hoffmann building in 2009 with its flexible combination of studios and rehearsal spaces has allowed the programme of having artists in residence to develop. Whilst Roger took us on our tour we encountered a group studying opera as well as a young composer developing a new opera. This is Snape's unique appeal, the organisation combines a major festival with a striking assemblage of venues in a superb landscape. The various strands are highly integrated, and Roger proudly points out that a third of the programme of the 2016 Aldeburgh Festival arose out of elements from Snape Music's year-round work in residencies and artistic development.
|Snape Maltings: the Jerwood Kiln studio - photo Philip Vile|
The location provides not just peace and visual inspiration, the relative isolation and the fact that mobile phones work badly, if at all, means that artists gain focus as well.
|Snape Maltings: the Hoffmann Building - photo Philip Vile|
Elsewhere on this blog:
- Music among friends: Klangrede from Zafraan Ensemble & Titus Engel - CD review
- Queer Talk: Homosexuality in Britten's Britain at The Red House - Exhibition review
- Composition is a full on meeting with his Christianity:: I talk to composer Patrick Hawes about his new album Revelation - interview
- Taking them seriously: Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance at English National Opera - opera review
- Energy and commmittment: Rebecca Miller and the Salomon Orchestra in Kodaly and Bartok - concert review
- O Sing Unto the Lord: Andrew Gant's engaging history of English church music - Book review
- Sui Generis: Karmana from Simon Thacker - CD review
- Stunning technique: Debut recital disc from Aida Garifullina - CD review
- Contemporary wind music from Estonia: Rhapsody for Winds - CD review
- Birthday celebrations: I chat to Nicola Lefanu about forthcoming premieres - interview
- Winter magic: Rimsky-Korsakov's The Snow Maiden in a rare outing courtesy of Opera North - Opera review
- Disturbing video games: Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel from Opera North - opera review
- Vivid theatricality: Suzi Digby and Ora - concert review