Posted on 10 June 2010
Gregynog Festival 2010
The 2010 programme for the oldest classical musical festival in Wales, the Gregynog Festival, has been curated on a theme of Pleasure Gardens. Some truly superlative artists, including many of the world’s finest early music specialists, will be visiting the University of Wales Gregynog Hall, near Newtown, Mid Wales, between Tuesday, 8 June and Monday, 21 June 2010. (Tickets can be booked online through a dedicated ticket sales portal at www.gwylgregynogfestival.org or by calling 01686 207100.
Dame Emma Kirkby and the London Handel Players present music written by Thomas Arne for the Vauxhall Gardens; the Academy of Ancient Music performs Handel and Corelli; the Musicians of the Globe play music inspired by an Elizabethan garden; and The Tallis Scholars sing Renaissance settings of the Song of Songs. There are recitals by the international pianist Noriko Ogawa, harpist Catrin Finch and flautist Adam Walker, plus a host of imaginative outreach events to take Gregynog on tour from Ruabon to Brecon. The Festival will even host two broadcasts of BBC Radio 4’s iconic programme, Gardeners’ Question Time.
2010 sees Gregynog Festival taking a trip back in time, basing much of its music-making on repertoire associated with Ranelagh and Vauxhall, the great Pleasure Gardens of Georgian London. To honour the legendary triple harpist John Parry (Parri Ddall, 1710-1782), the Festival’s first weekend opens on Thursday 10 June with a day school and concert at St Mary’s Church, Ruabon, where Parri Ddall is buried. The cream of today’s Welsh triple harpists, Robin Huw Bowen, Angharad Evans and Rhes Ganol, will pay tribute to the ‘Celebrated Blind Harper of Ruabon’, who performed at the Ranelagh Rotunda and whose playing was admired by Handel and David Garrick.
Let yourself be spiritually transported back to the eighteenth century on Friday 11 June by the supreme voice of the early music movement, Dame Emma Kirkby, and the London Handel Players. Dame Emma’s programme, Music for Mrs Arne, includes virtuosic arias which Thomas Arne composed for his wife, the soprano Cecilia Young, to perform at the Vauxhall Gardens.
A Musical Breakfast on Saturday 12 June highlights Welsh composers at the London Pleasure Gardens, including Elizabeth Randles, the ‘Little Cambrian Prodigy’ who created such a sensation when she performed at Vauxhall Gardens at the age of three that members of the Royal Family wished to adopt her! A Public Breakfast, a ‘taster’ lunch in 18th-century Georgian style, precedes an afternoon recital by flautist Rachel Brown and fortepiano specialist Terence Charlston. The day-programme culminates with an evening recital by ‘Queen of harps’ Catrin Finch, making a welcome return to Gregynog with a varied and delightful programme inspired by the Pleasure Gardens theme.
The principal players of the Academy of Ancient Music, directed by Pavlo Beznosiuk, make their Gregynog Festival debut on Sunday 13 June with a programme of Handel, Corelli, Geminiani and Avison. One of the world’s first period-instrument ensembles, the Academy is now in its fourth decade as one of the world’s finest.
On Friday 18 June, the Musicians of the Globe, directed by Philip Pickett, give the world première performance of their new Elizabethan programme, All in a Garden Green, a celebration of Queen Elizabeth I’s summer progresses to the great country-house gardens of Kenilworth and Elvetham. It was the late Sam Wanamaker who asked Philip Pickett to form an ensemble to further the name and ethos of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre through concerts, recordings and broadcasts. These six brilliant instrumentalists specialise in authentic performance on recorder, viol, cittern and lute, and are joined at Gregynog by the outstanding soprano Joanne Lunn.
Japan is the theme for the Festival’s day programme on Saturday 19 June, when a recital on the traditional instruments, the koto and shakuhachi, an ikebana demonstration and Japanese catering will complement an evening recital by the celebrated pianist Noriko Ogawa. Ogawa’s programme will evoke Japanese gardens through the music of Takemitsu and Kanno, including some ground-breaking pieces commissioned from Kanno which combine the piano with the unusual sounds of metal chopsticks and Nambu bell.
The Festival’s second weekend culminates in the traditional choral concert on Sunday 20 June which this year is given by The Tallis Scholars, directed by Peter Phillips. Described recently in the Times as having ‘a blend finer than any coffee’, The Tallis Scholars are firmly established as the foremost exponents of Renaissance sacred music throughout the world and their Gregynog programme includes glorious settings of the Song of Songs by Palestrina, Guerrero, Vivanco and de Rore.
Other Festival events include recitals by the flautist Adam Walker at Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown, on 8 June 2010 and Royal harpist Claire Jones at the Presbyterian Church, Brecon on 17 June 2010. Walker has just been appointed principal flute of the London Symphony Orchestra at the age of 21 and his programme includes the world premiere performance of this year’s Gregynog Festival commission by Huw Watkins, accompanied by the composer.
The Festival concludes on Monday 21 June when Eric Robson and his expert panellists visit Gregynog’s Music Room to record two episodes of Gardeners’ Question Time for future broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
Dr Rhian Davies, Gregynog Festival’s Artistic Director, said:
The 2010 Festival programme will be taking a trip back in time, basing our fortnight’s music on a concept which was very popular during the 18th and 19th centuries, namely Pleasure Gardens. We will be reviving repertoire inspired by gardens of the past, including music by Welsh composers at the London Pleasure Gardens, so that today’s classical music lovers can enjoy a feast of music-making on midsummer evenings with the glorious Gregynog gardens as a backdrop.'
Notes to Editors:
Tickets for the 2010 Gregynog Festival can be booked online at www.gwylgregynogfestival.org and via the Festival’s new ticket hotline on 01686 207100.
For more information on Gregynog Hall, which is part of the University of Wales: http://www.wales.ac.uk/en/UniversityConferenceCentre/GregynogHall.aspx
For more information on The University of Wales please visit: www.wales.ac.uk
For press and media information, please contact Tom Barrett, Communications Officer, University of Wales: firstname.lastname@example.org