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Friday, 31 May 2019

Hertfordshire Festival of Music

Hertfordshire Festival of Music
The Hertfordshire Festival of Music, artistic directors Tom Hammond and James Francis Brown, returns on 13 June 2019 for 22 events over 10 days. The festival has almost doubled in size since the 2018 issue, and visitors to the festival include cellist Steven Isserlis, the Orchestra of the Swan, ZRI, the Carducci Quartet and pianist Clare Hammond.

The festival opens with Steven Isserlis as the soloist in Haydn's Cello Concerto in C with the Orchestra of the Swan, conductor Tom Hammond, in a programme which includes music by John McCabe and Stravinsky. Isserlis has a short residency at the festival, giving a masterclass and performing a chamber music concert with friends with music by Faure and Schumann.

The inclusion of the Haydn Cello Concerto is a nod to an intriguing local Haydn connection. The father of an acquaintance of Haydn's, Nicholas Brassey, built a house near Hertford. Brassey supported Haydn for many years and the composer often visited the house near Hertford, staying there and composing, and learning English. The festival website has more details of this connection, and there will be explorations in the festival via talks and walks, whilst Ensemble DeNote will be performing Haydn piano sonatas and his Piano Trio in G Major 'Gypsy Rondo'.

Continuing the Gypsy theme, ZRI will be bringing its Brahms and the Gypsy programme, exploring the links between Brahms' music and the gypsy fiddling of which he was so fond, mixing Brahms' Clarinet Quintet with klezmer tunes and traditional music. And the group is also presenting another highly contrasting event, Adventures with Charlie Chaplin!

Tim Thorpe, principal horn with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, is also having a short residency. Thorpe and pianist Winnie Wu will be performing a programme of music by Erik Satie, Franz Joseph Strauss, Gilbert Vinter, Alan Mills and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Thorpe will be the guest at an amazing event featuring massed horns from Hertfordshire Music Service.

The Baroque ensemble Harmonia Celestis will be presenting a programme which mixes Handel and Bach with the contemporary composer Peter Fribbins. Fribbins is something of a featured composer  in the festival, and his works feature in other concerts including the final one on 23 June 2019, which features the Carducci Quartet with pianist Clare Hammond. The quartet will be playing works by Mendelssohn, Ravel and Peter Fribbins, and then will be joined by Hammond for Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor.

Full details from the festival website.

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