Six centuries of classical music programmed for West Wales festival


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St David’s Cathedral in Pembrokeshire. Photo by Nation.Cymru

The organiser of West Wales’ leading music festival has said that this summer’s event will feature the largest number of performances in its history, spanning six centuries of music.

The Fishguard and West Wales Music Festival will see concerts and events staged at thirteen venues across Pembrokeshire.

It runs between 20 August and 10 September, with a launch concert by the National Youth Brass Band of Wales at St David’s Cathedral on Friday 5 August.

Artistic Director Gillian Green MBE has been describing the “feast of world-class music” planned for this year’s festival.

Outlining the programme, Ms Green said: “The emphasis is always on making high quality performances accessible to residents and visitors to this beautiful part of Wales and to give performance opportunities to young people.

“We are delighted that the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera are returning. Their two performances in the 2021 Festival were especially poignant as this was the first time that they had performed for a live audience for over 18 months.

“The European Union Chamber Orchestra also makes a return visit and will present music from the Classical Era, led and directed by Hans Peter Hofmann.

“Brass instruments will feature in a concert by Inner City Brass, a quintet of players who play with different orchestras who have recently celebrated their tenth anniversary of performing.”

Recitals

She continued: “Also celebrating a significant year is the Sacconi Quartet which was formed twenty years ago. Their two concerts will feature, firstly guitarist Morgan Szymanski and at their second concert, Peter Donohoe who first heard them at the festival and consequently invited them to tour with him.

“The programme will include Rachmaninov’s Romance for String Quartet, and the Schumann and Taneyev Quintets. Peter will also perform with Harriet Mackenzie (violin) as will Morgan Szymanski as this is a long-standing duo partnership.

“We have commissioned composer Geraint Lewis to create a new work for the Marian Consort and their programme at St David’s Cathedral is entitled ‘Music of the Sistine Chapel’. It was therefore important to commission a composer who was familiar with the music of Palestrina and other composers of the era.

“The Marian Consort will provide the music for the ‘Saints and Stones’ tour the following day, a project which involves a bus tour around churches in the area under the guidance of the Reverend Richard Davies who gives attendees an insight into the history of each one.

“Llŷr Williams makes a welcome return with a programme of music by Chopin, Liszt Brahms and Tchaikovsky and we shall present two song recitals: the first by Stuart Jackson (tenor) with Jocelyn Freeman (piano) whose CD ‘Flax and Fire’ – Songs of Devotion, received wide critical acclaim.

“The second song recital is a collaboration between Rebecca Evans (soprano) and the pianist Andrew Matthews-Owen and the programme will include music by the Welsh composers Dilys Elwyn-Edwards, Morfydd Owen and Alun Hoddinott.”



New audiences

“Folk musicians Vri and Pedair will be performing at Theatr Gwaun and participate in free outdoor performances the following day at Lower Town Quay, Fishguard and Oriel y Parc in St Davids.

“These are excellent ways of extending the reach of the festival and attracting new audiences. People of all ages, babies, toddlers and dogs attend and audiences can ‘dip-in’ to the concert as they wish.

“The performance at Lower Town Quay will again take place at 8am and attendees enjoy the atmosphere which this time of day and the location brings.

“Khamira will give our final concert at the Merlin Theatre at Pembrokeshire College in Haverfordwest.

“We shall include one talk this year which will be given by Michael Spitzer author of The Musical Human – A History of Life on Earth. This was a BBC 4 Book of the Week earlier this year.”

The festival runs from Saturday 20 August to Saturday 10th September and the full programme is available to view on the festival website  where tickets can also be booked.


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