Wednesday 13 September 2023

Celebrating one of King's Lynn's most distinguished residents: the Charles Burney Early Music weekend returns

Charles Burney by Sir Joshua Reynolds in 1781
Charles Burney by Sir Joshua Reynolds in 1781
Following the success of the annual Early Music Days in King's Lynn in July and the inaugural Charles Burney Early Music weekend in 2022, the second Charles Burney Early Music Festival returns to King's Lynn from 29 September to 1 October 2023. The festival celebrates the life of one of King's Lynn's most distinguished residents, the traveller and writer Charles Burney who was organist at St Margaret's Church (now King's Lynn Minster) for almost 10 years in the middle of the 18th century.

The festival opens with Apollo's Cabinet in Charles Burney, Baroque Travel Blogger, a musical voyage following Burney on his journey: a kaleidoscope of European Baroque music with compositions from each of the countries he visited, some famous, others seldom heard, interspersed with readings of his original 18th century diary entries. And the concert will also celebrate the ensemble's release of a CD of the same programme.

Matthew Truscott (violin) and Steven Devine (fortepiano) explore the newly emerging 18th-century galant style with its yearning sensitivity of expression, as exemplified by JS Bach's sons Johann Christian Bach who Burney knew in London and Carl Phillipe Emmanuel who Burney met in 1772 in Hamburg. And in a second concert Truscott and Devine turn their attention to Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven, and introduce Joseph Woelfl (1773 – 1812), a well-respected in musician in his time and whose music continued to be performed by Chopin and Liszt. A pupil of Michael Haydn and probably of Mozart, Woelfl was a friendly performing rival of Beethoven. Steven Devine and soprano Kate Semmens will also present Tea with Dr Burney, light-hearted programme explores the famous and not-so-famous composers and musicians Charles Burney encountered in the social gatherings and salons of Europe during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

The Festival also features a lecture about Frances Burney, daughter of Charles Burney and best known as the novelist Fanny Burney, and there will be a walk around King's Lynn introducing the historic buildings known and used by the Burney family.

Full details from the King's Lynn Festival website.

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