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August 2017

Feature

The Gesualdo Six

Jonathan Heaton (Classical Events)
interviews
Owain Park (conductor)

The Gesualdo Six

The Gesualdo Six
(Owain Park in centre)

Owain Park is the director of vocal consort The Gesualdo Six. He is also a composer, singer and organist.

JH. When was the Gesualdo Six founded and by whom?
OP. In the spring of 2014 I asked six singers to come together to sing Carlo Gesualdo's 'Tenebrae Responsories for Maundy Thursday'. All were studying at Cambridge or recent graduates, and it quickly became apparent that this could be a really exciting adventure; we all had immense fun and were bound together by this rather stunning and unusual music, singing one-to-a-part. Being in Cambridge gave us the opportunity to rehearse and give concerts for free, and as we were all at a similar stage there was a lot of goodwill within the group, enabling us to spend time on the music, exploring new repertoire and finding the colours and sound to make performances engaging and interesting.

JH. How has the group evolved since the early days?
OP. After our first year, the line-up of the group changed as members left to join ensembles including the King's Singers and Voces8. Whilst it's tricky to say goodbye to friends, working with these musicians is a great privilege and we have been fortunate to find singers who have joined and continued to take the group forward. We're now only partially made up of former Cambridge graduates, with new singers jointing from Manchester, London and Oxford, which brings new experiences and ways of making music to the table.

JH. What is your key repertoire and how do you supplement this in concerts?
OP. Our primary focus started with renaissance composers, performing Gesualdo, Byrd and Hassler in our first concerts. Quite early on, however, we began to explore modern works including Ligeti's 'Nonsense Madrigals' and pieces by Paweł Łukazsweski and Joanna Marsh, often pairing them with Italian madrigals on similar themes. Our Composition Competition cemented our love for performing new music; we received over 170 entries from around the globe, and continue to perform submitted works including a rather delightful piece by American composer Sarah Rimkus, 'My heart is like a singing bird', setting a text by Christina Rossetti.

JH. Your six venues Summer Tour 2017 begins on the 29 August with a varied programme. How have you chosen the compositions?
OP. This year's Summer Tour will be our third, and I feel that with this experience we've managed to create a programme to suit most tastes, including everything from early music by Machaut and Tallis through to folk song arrangements and light music. When performing individual concerts at home or abroad, we usually like to focus on a particular theme, but for these tours audiences have responded really well to our varied programmes.

JH. How do your audiences respond to contemporary classical music?
OP. I always enjoy programming the 'Nonsense Madrigals' by Ligeti, as invariably several members of the audience will make a point of telling us at the end of a concert that these were their favourite pieces, despite not looking forward to hearing them! As a composer, it's wonderful to be able to programme works for this group and we've sung several pieces of mine including 'Fantasia on English Children's Songs', which always raises a few smiles, and 'Sequence: In Parenthesis', which by contrast is a very reflective work, using musical quotes from David Jones's poem 'In Parenthesis' in a dream-like fantasia with spoken words from a narrator, usually placed in the pulpit.

JH. You are releasing your first CD later this year. Can you tell us a little more about it?
OP. We have recorded a selection of anthems and motets by English renaissance composers from Dunstable to Gibbons for our first release. Most of us grew up as choristers singing this repertoire and it was very special to record these pieces earlier this year. Recording a CD is an expensive business, and so we were extremely grateful of support from numerous individuals who pledged on our Crowdfunder page. This recent phenomenon is a rather wonderful thing and whilst we didn't turn immediately to it, managing to raise most of our funds by giving performances, being able to offer signed CDs and concert tickets in return for a donation has brought this project to fruition. As we don't have any major sponsors we are grateful for the support of our Friends and Patrons who regularly attend concerts and stay up-to-date with the group's activities.

JH. What are your most memorable performances?
OP. Performing Arvo Pärt's 'Passio' with the composer in attendance will live long in the memory, as will our first concert in Germany, which was standing-room only - a surprise to us given as the concert kicked off at 10.30pm! We really enjoy bringing our music to rural venues in the U.K. and have sung in some beautiful places, including Clodock and Dore Abbey on our first two Summer Tours. Singing Gesualdo's Tenebrae Responsories in King's College Chapel and performing Italian Madrigals in a room full of paintings by Caravaggio in the National Gallery are two of my personal favourites, but I also can't forget the numerous cricket matches we've managed to play - that really is something the group can always agree on!

JH. In a nutshell what’s the key to the success of working with a small ensemble?
OP. I think that having the drive and determination to perform and explore new repertoire has pushed us forward, alongside support from venues and organisations, especially in the early stages. It takes a vast amount of time to run a group such as this, and I'm thrilled that Hazard Chase have signed us for worldwide management, enabling me to focus more on music-making. We've been fortunate to have a fantastic relationship with St John's Smith Square, first as their Young Artists and then performing at the Christmas and Holy Week Festivals. We are now on the Brighton Early Music Festival Live Scheme, and we are looking forward to our year with them, especially the Showcase Concert on Saturday 4 November 2017.

Summer Tour 2017
28 August - 3rd September

Summer Tour - The Gesualdo Six


54c642ea-9703-4ebe-a293-e51c336b0e4c.jpg The Gesualdo Six
Tue 29 Aug 7:30 PM
Trinity College Chapel
Cambridge

Summer Tour - Cambridge

The Gesualdo Six present their third Summer Tour, which takes place 28 August – 3 September 2017. The varied programme at Trinity College Chapel includes György Ligeti – Nonsense Madrigals: selection, Owain Park – Sequence: 'In Parenthesis', and Josef Gabriel Rheinberger – 3 Geistliche Gesänge, Op.69.


07519604-e9be-4fd6-8c11-1c379d074710.jpg The Gesualdo Six
Thu 31 Aug 7:30 PM
All Saints Church
Northampton

Summer Tour - Northampton

The Gesualdo Six present their third Summer Tour, which takes place 28 August – 3 September 2017. Amongst the chosen compositions at All Saints Church are: Jacobus Clemens non Papa – Ego flos campi, Thomas Tallis – Loquebantur variis linguis and Guillaume de Machaut – La Messe de Nostre Dame: Gloria.


jpg The Gesualdo Six
Fri 1 Sep 7:30 PM
All Saints Church
Odiham
Hampshire

Summer Tour - Odiham

The Gesualdo Six present their third Summer Tour, which takes place 28 August – 3 September 2017. The programme at All Saints Church includes: Carlo Gesualdo – Illumina faciem tuam, Joanna Marsh – Arabesques: selection, Owain Park – Fantasia on English Children's Songs.


The Gesualdo Six
Sat 2 Sep 7:30 PM
St Mary Redcliffe Church
Bristol

Summer Tour - Bristol

The Gesualdo Six present their third Summer Tour, which takes place 28 August – 3 September 2017. The compositions at St Mary Redcliffe Church include: Jonathan Seers – Look down O Lord, David Bednall – Put out into the deep, Cheryl Frances-Hoad – The Promised Light of Life, Various – Folksongs from the British Isles.

Feature


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The Dartington International Summer School & Festival in Totnes, South Devon is a music school by day and a concert hall by night.

Joanna MacGregor OBE has programmed a magnificent array of music from opera, jazz, chamber music, folk, poetry, choral, and musical theatre, to illustrated lectures, Brazilian rhythms, gospel and film music. There are courses, workshops and masterclasses run by top professional musicians during the day and world-class performances in a magical setting every evening.

In the beautiful grounds of the Dartington Estate there are up to three concerts each night throughout August. Tickets and courses are available to book online or through the box office: 01803 847070

Full listing of Summer Concerts

Four weeks of Summer Courses

Dartington Hall

Dartington Hall

Dartington Summer School - selected concerts


d5f3cf41-962c-4e28-85bf-cedd30874e79.jpg Florentine Intermedi
Fri 4 Aug 7:45 PM
Great Hall
Dartington Hall
Totnes
Devon

In 1589 there was a glittering celebration for a Medici wedding, with music by Malvezzi, Marenzio and Caccini. This lavishly entertaining masterpiece is the earliest forerunner of opera, with wood nymphs, muses, scenes set in hell as well as the heavens. It is a glorious spectacular: the concert will be decorated as a wedding – with the audience as the bride and groom’s guests, flowers, and wedding cake.

Performers include Stile Antico, The City Musick, Dartington Choir, the Advanced Renaissance Wind Band. They are conducted by Andrew Griffiths with William Lyons as director.


842186ac-431b-4440-bd86-50188b541b91.jpg Joanna MacGregor
Tue 8 Aug 7:45 PM
Great Hall
Dartington Hall
Totnes
Devon

In this wonderfully evocative concert Joanna MacGregor performs Schubert’s last profound piano sonata and his gorgeous, most celebrated impromptus. It’s paired here with Liszt’s magnificent arrangement of Isolde's Liebstod and two introspective late compositions, Nuages Gris and La lugubre gondola. This is matched by James Runcie’s readings of Schiller and Goethe.


af59053e-65e6-47b2-8c48-f34406981f39.jpg Heath Quartet
Sat 12 Aug 7:45 PM
Great Hall
Dartington Hall
Totnes
Devon

In memory of Dartington potter Marianne de Trey CBE.

The Heath Quartet are described by The Strad as giving 'passionate performances that combine technical accomplishment with interpretative flair'. The leading young Heath Quartet is rapidly emerging as an exciting voice on the international chamber music scene. Their recording of Tippett’s string quartets received widespread acclaim and won the 2016 Gramophone Chamber Disk of the Year. A subsequent release of Tchaikovsky’s Quartets was selected as Disk of the Week by both The Sunday Times and BBC Radio 3. Future highlights include a return to the Berlin Konzerthaus, performances in Austria with Michael Collins, as well as appearances at the Wigmore Hall.

Their lovely, meaty programme for Dartington includes some of the greatest quartet repertoire ever written, including Mendelssohn’s late quartet dedicated to his sister Fanny.

‘…The music’s potency and bravura were conveyed with thrilling conviction’ The Guardian


d322fa10-ddc4-4ce4-86d0-38abcf0ff4f7.jpgFournier Trio
Sun 20 Aug 7:45 PM
Great Hall
Dartington Hall
Totnes
Devon

Formed in 2009, the internationally award-winning Fournier Trio has rapidly established itself as one of the leading young chamber ensembles in the UK. Described by Classical Source as having "awesome but restrained technical ability and chamber-music antennae", they were winners of the prestigious 2013 Parkhouse Award at Wigmore Hall. Meet the Fournier Trio with performances of Ravel and Brahms trios plus interviews with the musicians

Forthcoming Events


49225cde-3a92-4e83-a102-ed7623367b16.jpg John Lill
Tue 1 Aug 8:00 PM
Oxford Town Hall
Oxford

Oxford Piano Festival 2017

As a leading interpreter of Beethoven, Lill brings his mastery to the Oxford Town Hall stage for a performance of the composer's famous 'Moonlight' sonata. To complement this mysterious, lyrical piece, Lill has chosen works by Prokofiev and Chopin, as well as Schumann's much-loved, 13-piece 'Scenes from Childhood'.

Other concerts in the series:
2 August: Richard Goode, Mozart, Janácek, Brahms, Debussy
5 August: Sir Andras Schiff, Bach - Das wohltemperierte Klavier I
6 August: Yefim Bronfman and the Oxford Philharmonic


d46d7c84-099a-43fb-b8dd-8eafbd194fc7.jpg

Alison McGillivray
Sat 5 Aug 3:00 PM
Old Baptist Chapel
Tewkesbury
Gloucestershire

Bach Cello Suites

Alison McGillivray will play the first and sixth of Bach’s Suites on the 5 string cello. She is a cellist and viola da gamba player who is regularly heard playing with Concerto Caledonia, The Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments, Rachel Podger’s Brecon Baroque and the Dunedin Consort. Her solo recordings include CPE Bach’s Cello Concerto with the Academy of Ancient Music and Geminiani Cello Sonatas with David McGuinness. Alison played Bach Cello Suites at Rachel Podger’s Tokyo Bach Weekend, and was subsequently invited by the London Cello Society to perform on the unique 400 year old Amati 5-string cello.

This concert forms part of Musica Deo Sacra, the annual festival celebrating music in the liturgy at Tewkesbury Abbey, which this year runs from 31 July to 6 August.


8b95a0d5-bba3-4694-82db-46fdd0e44c52.jpg National Youth Orchestra of Wales
Sat 5 Aug 7:30 PM
St David's Hall
Cardiff

Some of Wales' finest young musicians will perform at St David's Hall as the National Youth Orchestra of Wales returns for its final concert of the 2017 tour. Building on last year's fantastic performances, Carlo Rizzi conducts the Orchestra in a wonderful programme which will once again showcase the incredible talent of the NYOW members as they perform for Wales!


a54010d2-ab62-4e4a-8df6-bcf8428b4d4d.jpg Paul Carr
Sun 6 Aug 3:00 PM
Holy Trinity Church
Wordsley
Stourbridge

Sunday Afternoon Organ Music

Overtures & Finales: works by Sibelius, Bach, Delibes and Guilmant. A large screen projection of the organ console and a pedal camera enables the audience to see the performer in action.

Also 3rd August 13:15, Birmingham: Thursday LIVE at St Chad's Cathedral


c7cbb6d4-ea67-4711-b4c5-b4e0baa43cb5.jpg Lumen
Sat 12 Aug 7:30 PM
St John on Bethnal Green
Bethnal Green
London

Music in Nature is a choral celebration of Summer, featuring a mixture of sacred, secular and traditional madrigals and part songs. The concert is free to attend, and is followed by a drinks reception in the church.


cd3c20c8-00e4-48b3-b5f5-60dedb4fad7b.jpg

Worcester Festival Choral Society
Sat 19 Aug 5:00 PM
New Road
Worcester

At Worcester County Cricket Club

The 47 piece National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Justin Pearson and featuring soprano Annette Wardell, are set to perform the first Classical Concert at the cricket ground.

All ticket purchasers are encouraged to bring a picnic blanket, hamper and fizz and take their spot on the historic outfield at New Road, all in sight of the Worcester Cathedral.

17.00 – Gates Open
19.30 – Medley of classic favourites with a stunning, brand-new orchestral tribute to Simon and Garfunkel
20.30 – 30 Minute Interval
21.00 – Iconic tracks, traditional Prom favourites and firework display
22.00 – Concert Finishes


8fb1315f-d951-4f79-968b-d082d17f06f7.jpg St Peter's Singers
Mon 28 Aug 4:00 PM
Fulneck Moravian Church
Pudsey
Leeds

St Peter's Singers of Leeds have their 40th Anniversary Season this Bank Holiday Monday in Fulneck Moravian Church for their Annual Baroque Festival. The concert comprises some truly joyful music from the pen of JS Bach (including the famous tune 'Jesu, Joy of Man's desiring') and in the 275th Anniversary year of Handel's first involvement with Thomas Coram's enduring charity for children, the Foundling Hospital Anthem.

Simon Lindley conducts soloists, the St Peter's Singers and Principals of the National Festival Orchestra.


8d05028d-6656-4016-952a-21f01cda7352.jpg Bampton Classical Opera
Mon 28 Aug 5:00 PM
The Orangery Theatre
Westonbirt School
Tetbury
Gloucestershire

Antonio Salieri - The School of Jealousy

Following highly successful UK premières of Salieri’s Falstaff (in 2003) and Trofonio’s Cave (2015), this summer Bampton Classical Opera will present the first UK performances since the late 18th century of arguably his most popular success: the bitter comedy of marital feuding, The School of Jealousy (La scuola de’ gelosi).

The production will be designed and directed by Jeremy Gray and conducted by Anthony Kraus from Opera North. The English translation will be by Gilly French and Jeremy Gray.

La scuola de’ gelosi was performed widely across Europe – from London to St Petersburg - for several decades, and was praised warmly by Goethe. La scuola de’ gelosi is enjoying a current revival across Europe, including performances this year in Florence and Vienna and a recording by L’arte del mondo on Deutsche Harmonia Mundi. Bampton has also selected the work to mark the bicentenary of the death of Nancy Storace in 1817.

Next Newsletter

September feature: Birminingham Bach Choir and Paul Spicer (conductor).

In the future monthly newsletters Classical Events will be featuring various organisations or soloists. If you would like to appear in the newsletter please contact us here.

Classical Events is a dedicated classical music web site, and a concert listing with picture is currently free. Whether you are a professional or amateur musician your concerts are welcome. Typically this will include concerts by orchestras, ensembles, choral groups and soloists.

Jonathan Heaton, Founder - Classical Events

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