Thursday 11 April 2024

Metamorfosi: York Early Music Festival 2024

This year's York Early Music Festival, which runs from 6 to 13 July 2024, has the title Metamorfosi
The York Early Music Festival was established in 1977 to celebrate music from the medieval to the baroque within an array of historic venues across the city of York. The festival is administered by the National Centre for Early Music (NCEM). This year's York Early Music Festival, which runs from 6 to 13 July 2024, has the title Metamorfosi and it takes the idea of musical metamorphosis and composers' borrowing, from each other and themselves, as its main theme.

The festival's theme is explored in a selection of concerts including The Sixteen in a programme of Lassus and Josquin highlighting the masters' borrowings, and Josquin and his influence is also the theme of The Gesualdo Six's concert. Steven Devine directs the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in music by Bach and Telemann inspired by those evenings at Zimmerman's Kaffeehaus, where of course Bach famously reused material from earlier in his career. We move to Italy as mezzo-soprano Martha McLorinan and the Rose Consort of Viols explore early Italian music that reworked existing songs whilst cornettist Gawain Glenton's Ensemble in Echo explore Renaissance musical parodies and transformations

Helen Charlston, one of the festival's artistic advisors, joins another mezzo-soprano Rebecca Leggatt and friends for Couperin's Lecons de Tenebre, and Charlston joins with the Consone Quartet for a programme of lieder by the Schumanns husband and wife, and the Mendelssohn siblings, in versions for voice and string quartet. Charlston returns to more traditional territory with a programme of John Dowland with lutenist Toby Carr

Other visitors include Concerto Soave in Frescobaldi's lesser-known Arie Musicali; Yorkshire Baroque Soloists, director Peter Seymour, in Entertainment in 18th century London with music by Handel, Arne, Boyce and more; Florilegium exploring music for King Louis XIV and King Louis XV; Nicholas Mulroy and Cubaroque exploring music by Purcell, Monteverdi and modern songs from the South Americas; Vox Luminis return to York to perform music from Monteverdi's Selva Morale e Spirituali from 1641.

Apotropaik, winners of the Friends Prize, the EEEmerging+ Prize and the Cambridge Early Music Prize at the York International Young Artists Competition in 2022, explore music written for King Charles VII and music for the idealised woman,

Flemish vocal ensemble Utopia explores the music published in 16th-century Antwerp by Tielman Susato, and we remain in Antwerp for Capella Fratensis and I Fedeli's concert of music by Obrecht and Barbireau written for what is now Antwerp Cathedral, and as Obrecht was famous for using the cantus firmus technique, weaving music around pre-existing plainsong, the concert is also directly in the festival's theme.

The NCEM's youth-music ensemble for school-age musicians, Minster Minstrels, explores the compositional technique of antiphony. The University of York Baroque Ensemble joins the postgraduate Domino Consort for Welcome all Pleasures! a programme of music from Purcell's London from tavern to theatre. The festival ends with the 2024 York Early Music International Young Artists Competition.

Full details from the NCEM website.

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