Tuesday 31 July 2012

Music@Malling - celebrating Dickens

Church of St Mary, West Malling, Kent(photo Hywel Williams)
St Mary's West Malling, (photo Hywel Williams)
Thomas Kemp's Music@Malling festival takes place from 27 to 30 September in venues in and around West Malling in Kent.  Dickens lived at Gad's Hill, which is 7 miles from Wast Malling and the author was a regular visitor to the town. So this year the festival celebrates the 200th anniversary of Dickens's birth by featuring composers that he most admired, Mendelssohn, Mozart and Chopin, and interleaving them with some of today's contemporary voices, Huw Watkins and Judith Bingham. The festival features  Thomas Kemp's own group Chamber Domaine plus the Sacconi Quartet, soprano Yeree Suh and baritone Jonathan McGovern.

Judith Bingham's The Hythe (whose first performance I reviewed) receives a further outing at Saturday evening's concert (28 September) performed by the Sacconi Quartet and Chamber Domaine conducted by Thomas Kemp, along with Huw Watkins's Three Welsh Songs for Strings and Mendelssohn's Octet. Saturday also features a daytime concert with soprano Yeree Suh, and a meet the composers event with Judith Bingham and Huw Watkins.

At the closing concert on Sunday 30 September Chamber Domaine, conductor Thomas Kemp, will be premiering a new arrangement of Judith Bingham's Moonlight over Westminster Cathedral with baritone Jonathan McGovern along with music by Mozart (Symphony no. 40 and Exsultate Jubilate). Bingham also features in the Sacconi Quartet's Sunday afternoon concert where, alongside Mozart and Mendelssohn quartets, soprano Yeree Suh performs Bingham's The Cathedral of Trees.

The opening concert on 28 September by Chamber Domaine, imaginatively features piano trios by Chopin, Huw Watkins and Judith Bingham.

Kemp and Chamber Domaine released a highly regarded disc of Judith Bingham's music in May last year.

An amazing and enterprising festival which seems to manage to cram a lot into a small space. There are even schools concerts and some late night entertainment. More details from the festival website.

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