Great Music at Little Missenden
PUBLISHED: 00:16 21 January 2012 | UPDATED: 14:50 20 February 2013
The pick of this month's events MUSIC: 48th LITTLE MISSENDEN FESTIVAL, October 12-21...
Great Music at Little Missenden
The Little Missenden, the 48th, has been described as "a festival that punches above its weight" and this year it promises to be as fresh and inviting as ever with a mix of early music, jazz, folk, classical and contemporary classical; piano and violin recitals, string quartets, songs, poetry, art. Performers include both established and rising stars.
The Festival opens with the impressive young vocal group EXAUDI, whose programme of love songs and laments from the golden age of Italian music (Monteverdi, Carissimi etc) is spiced with contemporary works on the same themes by Howard Skempton, Michael Finnissy, Elisabeth Lutyens and James Weeks.
Later in the Festival the highly-esteemed Britten Sinfonia will be performing the new John Tavener song-cycle Songs of the Sky, which they premiered earlier this year. Julius Drake (piano), Nicolas Daniel (oboe) and Charles Daniels (tenor) are a truly top-grade team. They also perform works by composers very much in touch with their spiritual side: Purcell, Britten, Vaughan Williams and Buckinghamshire's best-known composer Edmund Rubbra.
There are few more talented or prestigious chamber music groups than the St Petersburg Quartet. Last year the power of their playing stunned their Festival audience, and this year they return to play the fifth of Shostakovich's great quartet cycle and the first of Beethoven's late quartets (opus 127), set off by Stravinsky's piquant Russian miniatures.
The final concert features Festival regular Gary Cooper's remarkable exploration of three late Beethoven masterpieces, including the magical Diabelli Variations, played on a copy of the sort of piano Beethoven would have used.
The Festival is exploring new concepts in jazz and folk music.
Virtuosic trio Acoustic Triangle (Malcolm Creese, Tim Garland and Gwilym Simcock) play their unique chamber jazz. Gwilym, one of the hottest jazz properties and the first jazz musician chosen as a BBC artist, makes his second Little Missenden appearance. As their name implies the trio play acoustically, without the usual blasting amplification, and they'll sound wonderful in the intimate spaces of Little Missenden Church.
Rebecca Askew and Jeremy Avis, two solo singers with roots in jazz, folk and early music, use computer-based feedback loops to build up mesmerising harmonic and rhythmic patterns. They write their own songs, and their performance is largely improvised.
For many years the Festival has been taking its artists to work with children in local primary schools, and in recent years the Festival organisers asked local Prestwood composer Janet Davey to hold a series of workshops in schools. With her support the children develop their own music, which they perform at Festival concerts. This year we're working with three first schools, at Little Missenden, Prestwood and Hyde Heath.
To celebrate W H Auden's centenary, Auden's friend and pupil John Fuller is coming to read poems by Auden, and some of his own work, while National Gallery curator Luke Syson will give an illustrated talk on Renaissance Siena prior to the gallery's big autumn exhibition, Renaissance Siena: Art for a city.
For more information call 01494-864686 or visit:www.littlemissendenfestival.co.uk