Monday 25 March 2024

Aldeburgh Festival at 75: Blond Eckbert and Curlew River, plus Unsuk Chin, Judith Weir, Alban Gerhardt and Daniel Pioro as featured artists

Aldeburgh Festival at 75: Blond Eckbert and Curlew River, plus Unsuk Chin, Judith Weir, Alban Gerhardt and Daniel Piero as featured artists

The 75th Aldeburgh Festival opens on 7 June and runs until 23 June 2024. The festival features stagings of Judith Weir's Blond Eckbert and Britten's Curlew River, and the festival's featured musicians are composers Judith Weir and Unsuk Chin, violinist Daniel Pioro and cellist Alban Gerhardt.

Judith Weir's Blond Eckbert is being staged as a co-production between Britten Pears Arts and English Touring Opera, and the work is directed by Robin Norton-Hale, conducted by Gerry Cornelius with a cast that includes Simon Wallfisch and Aoife Miskelly. Ryan Wigglesworth will conduct the Knussen Chamber Orchestra in the premiere of Weir's The Planet and Wigglesworth also conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra in Weir's Forest. Soprano Claire Booth performs Weir's solo opera, King Harald's Saga whilst the BBC Singers perform Blue Remembered Hill. The Leonkoro Quartet premiere Weir's second string quartet, The Spaniard, and there are performances of more of Weir's music from pianists Stephen Osborne and Rolf Hind, Trio Boheme, the Nash Ensemble, Aldeburgh Voices and Tenebrae.

Pianists Joseph Havlat and Rolf Hind will be sharing performance of Unsuk Chin's complete Preludes, whilst Tenebrae premiere Chin's new 40-part motet to go with Tallis' Spem in Alium for performance in Ely Cathedral. The Royal Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra, conductor Roderick Cox, premiere Chin's Alaraph

Cellist Alban Gerhardt will be performing Unsuk Chin's Cello Concerto, a work written for him, with Ryan Wigglesworth and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Gerhardt is also the soloist in Elgar's Cello Concerto with Edward Gardner and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He joins forces with soprano Claire Booth and pianist Joseph Havlat for Thomas Larcher's My illness is the medicine I need, based on extracts from interviews with patients of mental-health facilities, and Splinters. Then Gerhardt and pianist Steven Osborne recreate the June 1961 recital by Britten and Rostropovich which saw the world premiere of Britten’s Cello Sonata, along with classic works by Schubert, Schumann and Debussy. Gerhardt will be pairing Bach and Britten with their solo cello suites.

Violinist Daniel Pioro joins pianist Simon Smith for Brahms' three Violin Sonatas, and he joins with the Marian Consort for a programme of music for dusk including Tom Coult, Arvo Pärt and John Tavener. Pioro will also bring a deep-listening element, inspired by Pauline Oliveros, to a festival walk, and the violinist is also inviting people to drop in to his practice session at the Red House. And Pioro is the soloist in Britten Violin Concerto with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Ryan Wigglesworth.

There will be a new staging of Britten’s church parable Curlew River, 60 years after its first performance, directed by Claire van Kampen with music director Audrey Hyland and tenor Ian Bostridge, baritone Peter Braithwaite, bass-baritone Sir Willard White and singers and alumni from the Britten Pears Young Artists programme. Alongside this will be a rare chance to experience Sumidagawa (“Sumida River”), one of the most renowned Noh plays, which inspired Britten’s church parable Curlew River.  Other Britten at the festival includes suites from The Prince of the Pagodas and Death in Venice, St Nicholas (as part of a concert recreating the festival's opening concert from 1948).

The full festival brochure is available here [PDF]. Full details from the festival website.

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