Thursday, 22 August 2013

Brighton Early Music Festival 2013

The Brighton Early Music Festival enters its 11th year.  This year the festival is entitled 'Passion', and runs from 25 October to 10 November, aiming to explore how our individual passions can be communicated through music of many kinds.  As ever, there is a great mix of established names, young professional soloists and ensembles, and local amateur performers.  In all, there are 22 events this year, and the return of Arts Council funding has helped to ensure the festival can continue to grow and develop in new and exciting ways.

Credit: Bill Cooper, from Hipployte et Aricie

The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Glyndebourne join together in an education project, using local dancers and musicians, as well as instrumentalists from the OAE and the Brighton Early Music Live! project.  The project is inspired by work of Jean-Philippe Rameau, and is a response to Glyndebourne's recent production of Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie.  The music is composed by David Gordon, and the performance is choreographed by Christopher Tudor and designed by Bern O'Donoghue (Saturday 5 October, St George's Church, 3pm).  The OAE return later in the festival, bringing their ground-breaking Night Shift Pub Tour to Brighton, taking their performance of a Haydn String Quartet and a brand new work, to a central Brighton pub (Monday 21 October, 30 min sets at 8.30pm and 9.30pm - check here for the venue).

The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

The successful Early Music Club Night is back on Saturday 26 October at St Bartholomew's Church, 8 until late.  You can come and go as you please, although the event is ticketed this year, and will be recorded by BBC Radio 3 for later broadcast.  Performers include the Little Baroque Company, Il Nuovo Chiaroscuro (sakbut quartet), the Borromini String Quartet, I Flautisti (recorder quartet), Flauguissimo (flute and guitar), Alison Kinder (viols and renaissance winds), Esther Brazil (soprano) and Greg Skidmore (baritone).

BREMF Consort of Voices

BREMF Consort of Voices are joined by 2006 Choir of the Year winners, Chantage, for a concert of music by Tallis, Byrd and other sacred music from the period of Henry VIII to Queen Elizabeth I, and from both the Catholic & Protestant churches.  The concert has the title '40 Shades of Spem in Alium', and will include a performance of Tallis' famous 40 part work (Sunday 27 October, St Bartholomew's Church, 7.30pm).

Red Priest are back with 'Handel in the Wind', a new programme including their own unique take on the music of Handel (Friday 1 November, All Saints Church, Hove, 8pm).

The Marian Consort
The young ensemble that wowed the festival last year, The Marian Consort, return with 'Breaking the Rules', a concert-drama exploring the work and life of Carlo Gesualdo (1560-1613).  They are joined by the Celestial Sirens, and an actor, with a script by BREMF Co-Artistic Director, Clare Norburn (Sunday 3 November, St Bartholomew's Church, 7.30pm).

Fellow BREMF Co-Artisitic Director, Deborah Roberts' group, Musica Secreta, with Sophia Brumfitt (soprano), Rosie Midgley (mezzo soprano), Lynda Sayce (lute & chitarrone) and Claire Williams (harpsichord) are joined by members of BREMF Consort of Voices for 'Passion and the Princess', a programme devised by Dr Laurie Stras, exploring marriage, murder and madness at the court of Ferrara (Saturday 2 November, The Old Market, Hove, 7.30pm).

Credit: Bibi Basch
The festival's ever-supportive patron, Dame Emma Kirkby also returns with a concert of music by John Dowland, with Jacob Heringman on the lute (Friday 8 November, St George's Church, 8pm).  They are joined by three young professional lute-song duos, who will also be appearing with Emma and Jacob in a public Masterclass the day before (Thursday 7 November, St George's Church, 7.30pm).

BREMF's other Co-Artistic Director, Clare Norburn, performs with her group, The Telling, with Yvonne Eddy (Soprano), Jean Kelly (harp) and Clare Salaman (vielle & hurdy gurdy).  Their performance, called 'Tall Towers, Husbands - and other Obstacles to Love' includes troubadour and trouvère music, poetry and dances (Saturday 9 November, St Mary's Church, Rock Gardens, Brighton, 1pm).

Rachel Podger
Internationally renowned baroque violinist Rachel Podger performs Bach, Tartini, Matteis and Pisendel, as well as Biber's Guardian Angel from his Mystery Sonatas (11am, Sunday 10 November, Brighton Dome Corn Exchange).  This concert is a joint collaboration with Brighton Dome and the Strings Attached Coffee Concert series.  The day before, Rachel is also holding a public Masterclass at Brighton College (4.30pm, Saturday 9 November).

John Hancorn

The festival closes on Sunday 10 November, St Bartholomew's Churchwith a performance of J S Bach's St John Passion.  The BREMF Players, lead by Alison Bury are joined by the BREMF Singers, and the performance is conducted by John Hancorn.  Andrew Griffiths is the Evangelist, and George Humphreys is Christus, with Mhairi Lawson (soprano), Esther Brazil (mezzo soprano), Nick Pritchard (tenor) and Robert Davies (bass) in the other solo roles.

Other events include a workshop with Belinda Sykes and Joglaresa, hosted by BREMF Community Choir (12 October), followed by 'Songs of Sinne & Subversion' from Joglaresa on 25 October.  Emma Murphy from Philomel is also running a workshop on 19 October, and Philomel follow with 'Passion, Body & Soul' on 26 October.  Leah Stuttard (harp and voice) performs in 'The Wool Merchant and the Harp' (27 October), Trio Goya perform Haydn & Beethoven in 'Instruments of Passion' (2 November), and L'Avventura perform passionate love songs from Portugal and Brazil in 'Profane Deliriums' (9 November).

For booking details of all these events, visit the BREMF website.  And do consider joining as a Friend - you'll have advance booking until 4 September, and some events are sure to sell out!