Monday 29 January 2024

Stanford, Holst and an RVW premiere: the 17th English Music Festival at Dorchester Abbey

Caricature of Stanford by Spy, Vanity Fair, 1905
Caricature of Stanford by Spy in Vanity Fair,
from 1905, three years after the Clarinet Concerto
The seventeenth  English Music Festival returns to Dorchester Abbey, Oxfordshire from Friday 24 May until Monday 27 May 2024. The festival's opening concert features Martin Yates conducting the BBC Concert Orchestra in a programme which includes Stanford's Clarinet Concerto with soloist Michael Collins, Doreen Carwithen's Cotswold Suite, Holst's early Cotswold Symphony and the premiere of a new suite from the music RVW wrote for performances of Shakespeare's Richard II in Stratford in 1912-13.

Other events during the weekend include violinist Rupert Marshall-Luck and pianist Peter Cartwright in Holst, Bliss, Howells, Farrar and Stanford's Violin Sonata, tenor Brian Thorsett and pianist Richard Masters in Finzi, Ireland,  USA-based English composer Frank E Tours (1877-1963) and Arthur Somervell's Maud, the Godwine Choir in a mixed programme including Howells, Havergal Brian and Holst's Hymns from the Rig Veda, plus concerts from the Flutes and Frets Duo, pianists Philip Leslie and Paul Guinery, Excalibur Voices, Shiry Rashkovsky (viola) and Richard Uttley (piano), and Ensemble Kopernicus.

The weekend ends with a concert from the strings of the English Symphony Orchestra, conductor John Andrews, in a mixed programme the beings with Howells' Serenade and ends with Rawsthorne's Light Music for Strings and along the way fits in classics like Warlock's Capriol Suite and rarities like Bliss' Two Contrasts.

Full details from the English Music Festival's website.

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