Monday 10 September 2018

BREMF 2018 - Europe: 700 years of music from 17 European countries

BREMF 2018 - Europe: 700 years of music from 17 European countries
The Brighton Early Music Festival (BREMF) is going topical this year. Never really un-topical, previous festivals have explored our roots, our relationship to the earth including climate change, this year the festival is exploring the theme of Europe. 

Running from 26 October to 11 November 2018 in venues in and around Brighton, the festival is bringing 700 years of music from 17 European countries to Brighton, exploring Britain’s long and often tempestuous relationship with the rest of the European continent from medieval times onwards.

One highlight is the festival's staging of a double bill of Baroque operas at The Old Market in Hove, where director Thomas Guthrie will be comparing and contrasting Monteverdi's Ballo delle ingrate with one of the first operas in English, Blow's Venus and Adonis. The productions will involve some of the best young vocal talent, as well as street dance choreographed by J P Omari.

Nurturing young talent is something for which the festival is well-known, each year a group of artists are mentored on its Early Music Live! scheme, and this year features not only a showcase for this year's artists and ensembles, but brings back ensembles which featured on the scheme in past years including the Fieri Consort, Lux Musicae London and Flauti d’echo.

And BREMF wouldn't be BREMF without a performance from the wonderful BREMF Community Choir, this year it is joining with the Spanish ensemble Resonet for music from the 13th-century Lewes Priory Breviary, whilst another festival ensemble the BREMF Consort of Voices will be performing music from 'Reformation Remainers' Thomas Tallis and William Byrd.

Royal weddings pop up too, with music for an 18th-century Swedish royal wedding, and a programme looking at Queen Elizabeth I's tricky marriage negotiations and prevarications with various European princes, from soprano Elin Manahan Thomas (best known for singing at the recent wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex) and lutenist Elizabeth Kenny. Whilst the English Cornett and Sackbutt's programme Legal Aliens looks at the music of Italian families like the Bassanos who lived in Tudor London (including Aemelia Bassano who may have been Shakespeare's Dark Lady of the Sonnets).

The final event of the festival is on 11 November 2018, so rather appropriately it is Peace in Europe:A Concert for Armistice Day with music by Handel, De la Lande, Zelenka, Blow, Charpentier and Purcell from The BREMF Players (leader Alison Bury), The BREMF Singers (director John Hancorn) and soloists from BREMF's Early Music Live! including Elizabeth Adams, Nancy Cole, Helen Charlston (winner of this year's Handel Singing Competition), Josh Cooter and Tim Dickinson.

Full details from the BREMF website.

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