Thursday 8 March 2007

Chelsea Festival 2007

Tuesday evening saw the launch party for the 2007 Chelsea Festival. In previous years this has taken place at the historic Royal Hospital (designed by Wren) but this year it was in the ultra-modern top floor restaurant at Peter Jones shop in Sloane Square.

The festival, director Stewart Collins, is an impressively eclectic mix of classical music, jazz, theatre, fashion and all sorts of other things. Notable events, from my point of view, include Sir Andrew Davis conducting the Faure Requiem, with the Joyful Company of Singers; the Southbank Sinfonia doing a programme of English music for voices and Strings with music by Tippett, Berkeley, Leighton, Howells, Finzi and Walton; Mark Padmore and the Schubert Ensemble doing Vaughan Williams's On Wenlock Edge (but you've got to sit through Dvorak's Piano Quintet as well); Purcell's King Arthur, but it has a new book by Kit Hesketh-Harvey; Emma Kirkby and the London Handel Players in a programme of Handel, Telemann, Bach and Vivaldi and, at the closing concert, Mozart's Solemn Vesters and Haydn's lovely Little Organ Mass played in the Royal Hospital Chapel (a lovely venue, despite the uncomfortable seats!).

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