Soh-Fah The Ryedale Festival magazine
Flying Solo The 2013 Festival was one that most of us will
look back on fondly – wonderful performances that you will read about elsewhere combined with sunshine producing record ticket sales. The BBC made several recordings of events and these have just been broadcast in their Lunchtime Concert series. It was encouraging to hear the BBC announcers describe to the nation exactly where Ryedale is and to enthuse about the venues as well as the artists. This was also the year that the Arts Council in their wisdom decided not to continue with any financial support which in 2012 had been £45,000. This news arrived too late for us to change any of the programming and so we produced both the Community opera (Noyes Fludde) and of course The Magic Flute – something that cannot be done without incurring substantial losses. Although the Festival’s total likely losses this year will be in the region of £30,000 this can be regarded as some sort of triumph in the context of losing funding of £45,000. Consoling as that interpretation may be it nonetheless means that the Festival has run down its reserves and needs to replenish them. The board is quite clear that our objective must now be to be completely independent of public funding. To be so we have to both increase our membership and look for private donations from many sources. Already one of our supporters has given a gift of £10,000 on the condition it is matched by a similar increase in revenue from the membership. So, as part of our fundraising, and after much debate, we have decided to increase the Friends membership to £50 per year from the current £30. If our Friends are willing to give this extra support it will raise a further £6,000. Other private donors are being approached and a campaign to increase the number of members is starting. One of the more interesting lines in the accounts is “Intangible Income”. This item values all “services
in kind” given to the festival and last year was computed to be £25,050. These services are vital – and the Festival would simply not happen without the selfless contributions of so many: the hostesses who look after our artists and provide over 500 bed-nights, the drivers who meet artists at the dead of night and provide meals for them, the many volunteers who steward, distribute brochures, cook food, erect banners, produce coffee, wash up dishes etc. etc. Then there is the Management Committee and my board - all of whom give precious time and energy to our Festival. So a heartfelt thanks to everyone. Your vital contributions will never be truly valued by the entry “Intangible Income “! There have been several changes in personnel since the summer and these are mentioned elsewhere. To all those that are stepping down from their roles thank you for your contributions and to all those that are replacing them welcome. In particular I would like to thank Andie Cattle for her ten years of devoted service to the Friends – and of course for the numerous coffees she has dispensed at concerts over the same time. We are delighted to know that she will continue to provide coffees and generally look after us. It is important that the Festival attracts new faces and with its growing profile and reputation there are many jobs to be done that did not exist a few years ago. In particular the areas of advertising, PR, fund-raising, publications, etc. all need more energy and focus. Should anyone reading this feel they have the skills to help in these areas please be in touch. From the points of view of enthusiasm, support, communal involvement, and artistic excellence the Ryedale Festival is in robust health. This should give us all the confidence that its financial reserves can be re-built and that there will be many summers like the last one to look forward to. • robin andrews
or life after the Arts Council
Anna Rajah (The Queen of the Night).
The Magic Flute: Critics and audience feedback give top marks to our production • Wonderful direction and fabulous singing • Loved everything about it! Superb in every way! Thank you and well done to the whole cast! • Loverly (sic), intimate atmosphere. Stunning ensemble performance • Interesting flavour of talent to come! (continued on page 2)
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A new member of the Board We are delighted to welcome Dr Richard Shephard, MBE, as a new member of the Board. Many Friends will remember the entertaining talk he gave at a lunch a few years ago, though his modesty veiled the full nature of his accomplishments. On that occasion, as Chamberlain of York Minster he was concentrating on his efforts raising money for the repair of the great East Window of the Minster, an enormous task he has triumphantly accomplished. He has also been a popular and successful Headmaster of York Minster School. Listeners to Radio Three may well have encountered his music, for first and foremost he is a distinguished composer, of church music but also of operas and much else, written in a fresh and attractive idiom that has won him an international following. Not least, he is a man of high intelligence, humour, charm and friendliness. He accepted our invitation with the sole proviso that if we came to find he was not contributing usefully we would ask him to leave. This is not a condition causing us the faintest anxiety.
Stop-press: Launch Concert 2014
to report that the Launch Concert next year will be given by the Sacconi Quartet on 11th April 2014 at St Peter’s Church, Norton. One of the most exciting and successful string quartets of their generation, they have built up a following all over the world for their flair and musicianship. Their programme will include one of the string quartets Mozart dedicated to Haydn and Dvořák’s famous and much-loved ‘American’ Quartet. Artistic Director Christopher Glynn says, ‘What better way to launch next year’s festival than a concert by the Sacconnis – one of my favourite string quartets, making their first visit to Ryedale in what I’m sure will be a concert to remember. I look forward to seeing everyone there!’
The new 12-page publicity brochure which has been delivered with this issue of Soh-Fah has been produced for everyone’s use. It contains membership forms, Gift Aid and standing order forms – all you need to help in the recruitment of new members and Friends. Please phone the office on 01751 475888 if you would like additional copies.
We are pleased
The Magic Flute: Critics and audience feedback give top marks to our production (continued from page 1) Ampleforth College Theatre A full house greeted both performances of The Magic Flute, given in a lively new production by Nina Brazier and further invigorated by the festival president John Warrack’s typically slick new translation. Tucked into a back corner of the stage was the Festival Ensemble, otherwise known as the Eka String Quartet and the wind quintet Quintessence. When they fizzed into the overture’s Allegro, conducted by the festival’s versatile artistic director Christopher Glynn, we knew we were in for something special. A rudimentary set was to be expected. Nevertheless, Giulia Scrimeri’s split-level design served its purpose. Lighting designed by Tom Boucher did the rest. It darkened suitably for the Queen of the Night, though she and one or two others were made to linger in the shadows a little longer than strictly necessary. Glynn kept a firm hold on tempos, via closed-circuit cameras, whenever his singers showed signs of impulsiveness. Luke D. Williams was ideally cast as Papageno, and looked athletic in bird catching shorts. His clarity of tone and diction instantly suggested a career in song and Lieder. Most of his jokes were at his own expense and his interactions were invariably well timed. Anna Rajah’s Queen of the Night was outstanding, too, impeccably in tune when probing
the stratosphere and reserving menace for her surprisingly fullbodied lower resonance. Helen Bailey made an engaging Pamina, while veering between full-blown soprano and something lower. Her Tamino, Ben Thapa, sported a forthright tenor; he merely needed to loosen up as a lover. David Hansford, though youthful, already had Sarastro’s deepest notes in his bass; time will surely bring them into a firmer focus. Adam Player’s dapper Monostatos was lively, if not quite vicious. It was hard to imagine a sunnier Papagena than Caroline Kennedy. The small but disciplined chorus was fully engaged and, like the trios of ‘Boys’ and Ladies, consistently on the ball. Surely it’s time for the festival to consider a third, even fourth, performance. Evenings like this are too good to miss. • Martin Dreyer, Opera Magazine
Grimeborn Festival, London Nina Brazier’s production debuted in July at Ampleforth College Theatre before coming to London as part of this year’s Grimeborn Festival. Giulia Scrimieri’s set consisted of some rope hangings, a projecting catwalk and a chaise longue. Costumes were loosely
Soh-Fah | Autumn 2013 ❸
Photo Adam Rosenbach
contemporary and Brazier and Scrimieri seem to have been content to tell the story as clearly and straightforwardly as possible. The arrangement of the music was highly effective. Though we lost some of the majesty of the bigger moments, we were rewarded with some very fine string and wind playing. Glynn accorded his players the compliment of not conducting in some of the instrumental passages. Ben Thapa made a noble Tamino, rather serious and intense but full of rumpled charm. Helen Bailey was an attractive Pamina, according the music a lovely flexible line and producing some radiant tone in her solos. David Hansford was a remarkably young looking Sarastro, but he certainly had all the notes and displayed a beautifully focussed and darkly expressive lower register. His opposite number, the Queen of the Night, was played to full glamour by Anna Rajah complete with a shiny gold dress. Luckily she had the technique to match and gave full value to the coloratura in both of her arias. Papageno was portrayed more as a scout master than half-bird but Luke D. Williams Luke D. Williams (Papageno) and Caroline Kennedy (Pagagena). created him as an appealingly crazy sort of character with a lot of physical comedy and had the knack of being able to seem as if . . . the Arcola Theatre stages a translation by John Warrack, directed by Nina Brazier. Musical director Christopher Glynn he was addressing the audience directly. Monastatos was more of a comic character than probably Mozart leads a flawless arrangement from the Quintessence Wind and Schikaneder intended, but Adam Player brought it off brilliantly. Ensemble and Eka Quartet. The production is low key, familyHe was a delightfully preening, pompous and rather camp character. friendly, musically excellent. Anna Rajah is a bewitchingly passionate Queen of the Night, His attempted ravishments of Pamina were played as high comedy. There was a lot of delightfully detailed interaction between the and her performance of the notoriously difficult ‘The vengeance of characters, so that the three Ladies (Jenny Stafford, Kezia Bienek, Hell boils in my heart’ is commendably pitch-perfect. Ben Thapa Sarah Baillie) were both imperious and rather funny in their (Tamino) and Helen Bailey (Pamina) may not be so magnetic jostling for place. The three boys (Phoebe-Celeste Humphreys, theatrically, but make for consistently strong tenor and soprano leads. Suzi Saperia, Rose Martin) were a great delight, full of the rather Conversely, David Hansford (Sarastro) more than compensates silly pushing and mutual intimidation that boys everywhere for slightly underwhelming bass vocals with a commanding stage presence. It’s refreshing to see Luke D. Williams play Papageno indulge in. Edmund Hastings and Alex Otterburn were suitably dignified more as an identifiably comically flawed human than caricatured as the Priests and the Armed Men, whilst Otterburn was suitably Fool. His ‘Pa…Pa…Pa’ duet with equally affable Caroline Kennedy grave and impressive as the Speaker. Caroline Kennedy was a (Papagena) doesn’t disappoint, and it’s a shame we can’t see more of her. Adam Player made us laugh as treacherous Monostatos, delightful Girl Guide-ish Papagena. Christopher Glynn was admirably unflappable in the pit and and performers of the Queen’s ladies, guide boys, and Sarastro’s despite the fact that sight lines cannot have been perfect, the priests offer some excellent duets and harmonies throughout the show. • feeling of ensemble was very strong. • Robert Hugill
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Laura van der Heijden
Photo Adam Rosenbach
Photo Ted McAllister-Rees
Mahan Esfahani and Erik Bosgraaf
From Your Correspondent in Row H Laura van der Heijden asked the key question half way through her recital at Helmsley Arts Centre – why do we come to concerts? Responses showed that we come for a variety of reasons, which can be summed up by our wish to be entertained. This is true, whether it is a grand occasion like an opera or a symphony, or a recital by an unknown up and coming artist. Provided the music is competently played we may be unable to distinguish between one performance and another on purely musical grounds. So there are factors other than musical ones that make one concert stand out over another, and for me it is when the musicians engage us as individuals. This can be done in various ways. They can talk to us, introducing the works they are about to play. They can look at us while they are playing. They can invite us into their musical world by expressing emotion while playing, or by reacting with their fellow performers. They can thank us and announce the encore they are about to play. If some or all of these are done, we progress from being mere spectators to being part of the performance, and our enjoyment consequently increases. Judged by these criteria, various concerts at this year’s festival tick the boxes. Your correspondent in Row H was not at every event, but among the concerts he attended, the following stand out. Laura van der Heijden with her cello sonatas by Locatelli and Rachmaninov, showing enormous self-confidence as she announced what she was about to play, despite the notes that were printed in the programme. She led the audience through her encore, telling us to imagine we were walking through a wood. The various concerts by the Szymanowski Quartet: when we saw their publicity photographs we thought they were a bunch of James Bond villains. Having seen them perform we recognize them as really likeable villains. They must know their repertoire backwards, but still watch each other attentively throughout to
maintain that wonderful togetherness which is the hallmark of great quartet playing. Nowhere was this more in evidence than when they joined forces with our old friends the Fitzwilliam Quartet to play Mendelssohn’s Octet at Sledmere. The two quartets had met for the first time only the previous day, so extra vigilance was required to keep this fast-moving piece on track. Their eyes were on their fellow performers throughout, with the Szymanowski’s Andrej Bielow very much in charge. Your correspondent broke the rules by staying in the library for their second performance which was even better than the first, culminating in hugs all round as they successfully negotiated this brilliant score for the second time. The Magic Flute: surely one of the most amusing productions we have ever seen, thanks to John Warrack’s splendid new translation and Luke D. Williams’s hilarious clowning as Papageno. Pointers to inevitable future success on the opera stage from Anna Rajah as Queen of the Night and David Hansford as Sarastro. Bach and Handel at Coxwold: here we had a great venue – a wide church with no pillars offering excellent visibility, and a ‘platform’ leading up to the pulpit for the soprano soloist Rowan Pierce. All three performers introduced their works, from the learned Professor John Butt on harpsichord, to another old festival friend, Lucy Russell, who explained the intricacies of authentic violin performance, to the lovely Rowan Pierce who delighted us with her performance of the Handel arias. It was an object lesson in communication between performers and audience. Recitals by double-bass players rarely feature in festival programmes, but years of waiting paid off as we enjoyed the rare pleasure of hearing Chi-chi Nwanoku perform with Christopher Glynn at St Mary’s Priory, Old Malton. The fact that this may not have been great music was secondary to the experience of the performance itself – witty, amusing, original, loads of contact between the two performers, both of whom seemed to be having
Soh-Fah | Autumn 2013 ❺
a whale of a time. Even the potential disaster of a broken G string was overcome, and the concert ended appropriately enough with Bach’s Air on a G String, Chi-chi playing the bass line while Christopher reminded us of a former cigar commercial on the piano. The Katona Twins: like a number of the above artists, the Katona Twins didn’t require a printed programme as they introduced their numbers entertainingly, both arrangements of other pieces and home-grown repertoire. The Ryecrawl Artists: was it the informal nature of these concerts that made them stand out as different and enjoyable? From Handel’s Water Music played on watering can, kettles and teapots by the wind quintet at Egton Bridge to the lollypops from our friends the Szymanowski Quartet at Goathland; from the totally unexpected flamenco/16th century Spanish music at Grosmont to the three bassoons and contra-bassoon growling away at Ebberston Hall. All performers introduced their works: the audience had no notice of what to expect, and no time for preconceptions. Bosgraaf and Esfahani: this superb double act at Castle Howard showed what two engaging personalities can achieve, even when there was a printed programme with more than adequate notes by Christopher Glynn. During the first two performances of this triple concert they were on their best behaviour. The concert was being recorded by Radio 3, but once the BBC van was seen to disappear after the second performance they were able to let their hair down: ‘I’m warning you, Erik’, said Mahan Esfahani, ‘I’m going to take some risks’. There was consistently amusing
chat between the two performers. ‘We don’t usually do standup’ said Mahan. For an encore they agreed to reprise one of the pieces played earlier, but had to retrieve the manuscript from the audience, where it was being passed around. It all made for a joyful, memorable occasion. So much for the successes: what about the not-so-great experiences? Your correspondent’s views were not shared by all those attending, who applauded long and loud at all these concerts. The Labeque Sisters: one had the impression that this was a pre-packaged performance, and that on a tour where the same music was probably being performed every night – last night Brussels, tonight Ryedale, tomorrow Dublin – they were going through the motions. Performers should never forget that it is we, the audience, who are paying their fees. After enthusiastic applause they played their planned encore, but did not tell us what it was (Lutoslavski’s Variations on a Theme of Paganini, I think). Steven Isserlis: the UK’s most famous cellist was difficult to watch, his unchanging expression of ecstasy, eyes closed, shutting out the audience. This would not have worried the BBC, however, who were recording this performance for Radio 3. In the Frank Bridge Sonata the over-written piano part drowned out the cello: hopefully the sound engineers will put this right before transmission*. A nice touch at the end of the recital as Steven made his Stradivarius cello take a bow. • ROW H
*They did [Ed]
Who is the Lady in the Hat? Our Festival audiences include people from all
Photo TAdam Rosenbach
walks of life, some we know, the majority, probably, we don’t know, and have never spoken to. ‘Soh-Fah’ thought this a shame, and in this occasional series will attempt to make some of the characters of the Ryedale Festival more widely known. We kick off with Christine Roberts Holland, “the lady in the hat”. Christine, who lives in Malton, has been a Ryedale resident for 6 years, and has been a Festival Friend for the past 3 years. She is a regular member of the audience at our concerts across the board, and this year attended 26 events. Her musical interests are very wide, though she is not a musician herself. Besides music, her passion is art, design and fashion. After retiring as a teacher, she enrolled as a student at the Leeds College of Art and Design to complete a two year HNC course in Millinery. There she found the energetic creative atmosphere very much to her liking, and since qualifying has continued to attend courses on the College’s outreach programme. This term’s course is to prepare students who wish to enter hat competitions – the principal ones being at the Worshipful Company of Feltmakers in London and the Museum of Hatting in Stockport – both of which Christine has entered in the past. Christine has exhibited her work locally. Those attending this summer’s Ryedale Open Art Festival in Malton would have seen examples of her work on display, for sale at prices between £200 and £400. She was the only milliner exhibiting. Christine does not sell through retail outlets, however, as she does not make hats on a commercial scale. This interest in fashion has, of course, had a major influence on her personal life, and Christine insists that she attends each Festival event in a different outfit, or at least a different hat. During the course of the 2013 Festival this has involved
26 ensembles, and she has a total hat count running into three figures! We ask her which comes first, the dress or the hat? Whenever she makes a dress, she makes a matching hat from the same material. One of the most stunning ensembles Christine wore at this year’s Festival was the yellow and purple hat and dress seen at Ampleforth College Theatre for The Magic Flute. Most of the hats she wears at the Festival are small, so as not to cause visibility problems for members of the audience seated behind her! This year she cut loose at the Friends’ Tea Party, however, with the kind of ‘knock them flat’ creation seen on Ladies Day at race meetings, where she sported a splendid wide-brimmed black number adorned with white Yorkshire roses. Christine’s hats take a minimum of 6 hours to make, some considerably longer. Materials like ribbon and silk can be bought at retail haberdashers, but other materials like felt, which comes from the Czech Republic, or sinamay, a woven material which comes from the Philippines, have to be ordered from specialist suppliers. The production process, in terms of time and materials, is expensive, hence Christine’s minimum price of £200, though she will not, on principle, undercut people who are making a living from millinery. Does she have a favourite designer? Christine admires the work of famous milliners like Philip Treacy, Rose Corey and Sharon Bainbridge, and keeps up to date with the work of rising stars like Edwina Ibbotson through regular reading of The Hat Magazine. She is not an admirer of the over-the-top creations of David Shilling. So between now and the 2014 Festival when we shall see her again, Christine will settle down to her evening classes in Leeds, and will start crafting more new outfits to regale us with. Will she crash through the 30-hat barrier at next year’s Festival?
❻ Soh-Fah | Autumn 2013
Capturing the Atmosphere of the Concerts
Shizue Takahashi at the Ryedale Festival
atmosphere of concerts in her drawings – a skill that we are pleased to benefit from in Ryedale. Her of the Festival may have been intrigued by the sight pictures have been exhibited in one-woman shows of an artist sketching away in the background. at galleries in Hampstead and the West End. Shizue Takahashi, who was twice artist-in-residence These days, when not sketching in the concert a few years back, was making a welcome return to hall, Shizue spends her time teaching and widening the venues of her previous successes. her own artistic experience by attending weekly life Shizue was born in Japan, and came to England classes, which she says are ‘a real treat for my eyes in 1976. She trained at Central St Martin’s in and hands’. London, where she obtained a BA in Fine Art, Examples of her work are shown here, and the winning prizes along the way. Her early work was full range of her drawings from 11 performances landscapes in oils, but she soon discovered the ease and benefits of painting in watercolour, which led at this year’s Festival, and three from the London her to take her sketchbook everywhere with her launch concert in April (shown in the last issue of so that she could produce sketches wherever she Soh Fah), are reproduced on the Festival website. All found herself. are for sale: cards cost £2 each or 6 for £10; original Initially impressed by the paintings of Van drawings and reproductions are also available. Full Gogh, Monet and Turner, Shizue claims two major details of titles, prices and how to order are on the influences on her work among contemporary British website, www.ryedalefestival.co.uk. artists, Ken Howard and David Hockney, who wrote ‘Teaching someone In buying any of these you will be enriching your memories of the to draw is teaching them to look’, which she has made her watchword. Festival and making a valuable contribution to Festival funds. We In 2005 Shizue became resident artist for the Proms at St Jude’s thank Shizue for her skill and generosity. • ROW H in her native NW London, and for years has enjoyed capturing the Photo TMR
Those attending concerts in the second week
The Festival Mug Our initiative to offer festival mugs this year was very successful, and at the
time of going to press we have sold about 90 mugs. They played a full part in festival catering during the summer. As we read this with winter just around the corner, a summery scone with cream and strawberries and a mug of Yorkshire Tea (from Taylors of course) sounds just the job, reminding us of the superb weather we had throughout the festival. When she discovered that the design featured some notes from her Ryedale Concerto, Cheryl Frances-Hoad, our composer-in-residence, tweeted: “On a mug! Career highlight! Thank you”. The remaining mugs are still available for purchase, price £8 or £10 gift boxed, and are available from Andie Cattle 01751 417223. A new design is planned for the 2014 festival.
Soh-Fah | Autumn 2013 ❼
Forthcoming Musical Events 2013 Friday 8th November 7.30pm Robert Quinney, Llandaff Cathedral Saturday 9th November 7.00pm York Music Society, York Minster Saturday 9th November 7.30pm Scarborough Symphony Orchestra, Methodist Hall Scarborough Sunday 10th November 7.30pm Ampleforth Choirs and Orchestra, Ampleforth Abbey Sunday 17th November 5.00pm Ampleforth Choirs and Orchestra, St Alban’s Centre Ampleforth Tuesday 19th November 7.30pm Retrospect Ensemble, St Pauls Knightsbridge, London Friday 29th November 7.30pm Kirkbymoorside Town Brass Band, Helmsley Arts Centre Saturday 30th November 6.30pm Ryedale Festival Sponsors and Gold Members Dinner Thursday 5th December 7.30pm Far Flung – Conducted by Johnny Minford St Mary’s Old Malton Saturday 7th December 5.00pm Ampleforth and Ryedale Choir, Hovingham Church Saturday 7th December 7.30pm York Music Society, York Minster Wednesday 11th December 7.30pm Dalesmen Male Voice Choir, St Nicholas Guisborough Saturday 14th December 7.00pm East Riding County Choir, Beverley Minster Saturday 14th December 7.30pm Leeds Festival Chorus and Simon Wright, Leeds Town Hall Tuesday 17th December 7.30pm London Concert Choir, Cadogan Hall London Friday 20th December 7.30pm Dalesmen Male Voice Choir, St Hildas Westcliff Whitby
Organ Recital – Opening of the new organ. Bishop of Llandaff was formerly Vicar of Helmsley. Fauré/Poulenc – Conductor Richard Shephard Shaun Matthew and Mikhail Nemtsov (Cello) – Beethoven No 3, Haydn Cello Concerto in C maj. Fauré Requiem (Free) St Cecilia Concert (Free) Haydn’s Apothecary, conducted by Justin Doyle. New translation by John Warrack Duncombe Park Old English Carols – for the Red Cross accompanied by Christopher Glynn Carols for Young persons incl. Rutter’s Brother Heinrich’s Christmas Christmas Concert Concert conducted by Stephen Maltby Handel Messiah Glory of Christmas. Vivaldi and Bach. With Joshua Ellicott and Orchestra of Opera North Christmas Oratorio Bach Caedmon Carols
2014 Saturday 18th January 10.00am Naomi Leveton (RF Events Manager), York University Music Department Saturday 1st February 7.30pm Scarborough Symphony Orchestra, Methodist Hall Scarborough Saturday 15th February 7.30pm Yevgeny Sudbin (Piano), Helmsley Arts Centre Friday 14th to Sunday 16th March Naomi Leveton (RF Events Manager) Saturday 29th March 7.30pm Ripon Cathedral Choir, Ripon Cathedral Saturday 29th March 7.30pm Leeds Festival Chorus with Simon Wright, Leeds Town Hall Friday 4th April 7.30pm Chris Glynn and Louise Alder, Helmsley Arts Centre Friday 11th April 7.30pm RYEDALE FESTIVAL LAUNCH CONCERT, St Peters Norton Friday 11th to Sunday 27th July 2014 RYEDALE FESTIVAL
Come and Sing – Bob Chalcott (Part of “Britain in Song” Project) Shaun Matthew and Rebecca Taylor (Piano) Weber, Beethoven and Brahms 3rd Piano Concerto. York University Music Department Concert by The 24 and other events. Rutter Magnificat. McMillan (World Premiere) Mozart and Haydn. With Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Ryedale on the Radio What a wonderful surprise on 1 October, listening to the Radio 3 lunchtime concert to hear Penny Gore announce that today’s concert ‘‘comes from the 2013 Ryedale Festival, which takes place in an assortment of venues around this beautiful part of North Yorkshire’’. At this stage, we did not know that the recordings would be broadcast this week, so anyone who had switched on that day, like your correspondent, would have been delighted that the long-awaited transmissions had begun. The four programmes, which ran from Tuesday 1 to Friday 4 October, were very well presented. The BBC researchers had supplied short, relevant programme notes to introduce each item, including some points that were not in our own lengthy souvenir programme. The announcer even included architectural details about the churches where the concerts took place. Mentions of ‘beautiful North Yorkshire’, and ‘sellout concert’ ensured that the feelgood factor was working overtime, and made the festival seem a very desirable place for Radio 3 listeners to go to. Four concerts were recorded, and four transmissions went out – surely
this meant that each broadcast would give an edited version of each of the four concerts? No, that’s not Radio 3’s way. Each programme gave us a selection from the different concerts, so in the first broadcast we heard Alexandra Silocea play two Schubert/Liszt pieces, then the Szymanowski Quartet perform Szymanowski’s Nocturne and Tarantella (the names of all members of the quartet expertly credited thanks to the BBC’s pronunciation unit), while Steven Isserlis and Sam Haywood concluded the broadcast with Onslow’s Cello Sonata. The three subsequent broadcasts also provided mixed programmes by these artists. The final one even included the encore played by the Szymanowski Quartet at their St Michael’s Malton concert (and two subsequent festival appearances), namely Miroslav Skoric’s beautiful ‘Melody’. But so far, nothing from the Castle Howard concert by that dynamic duo Erik Bosgraaf and Mahan Esfahani – are the BBC keeping this one up their sleeve to spring on us some time in the future? • Roger Hillman
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News from the Artistic Director Festival-goers will recognise many of the performers our Artistic Director will perform with all over the country during the coming months. They include baritone Roderick Williams (‘Evenings don’t get much better than this’, said the York Press about his concert at Sledmere in 2012) and Steven Isserlis who performed to great acclaim in this year’s festival. He also performs and records with clarinettist Julian Bliss (who many will remember from the 2012 festival), cellist Adrian Brendel, and violinist Andrej Bielow, both of whom delighted festival audiences in recent years.
Chris also plays concerts with The Sixteen, travels to France and Germany for concert tours, and is taking part in an innovative new project at London’s Barbican Centre where he is working for the first time with the Richard Alston Dance Company and the Britten Sinfonia. But his main focus, of course, is planning the 2014 and 2015 Ryedale Festivals and persuading the most exceptional performers to include it in their summer plans. Details are still under wraps for the moment – but watch this space…! •
✍ Dear Members and Friends As I write this in October the sun is still
shining but the trees are now turning and there is certainly a hint of Autumn in the air. We certainly seem to have managed a few months of ‘summer’ weather this year and were so lucky for the last two weeks of July, it was the sunniest Festival we have had for some time. Good weather makes the job of all our team and the volunteers so much easier. On that note, grateful thanks to all our volunteers who once again did a magnificent job in helping to keep the Festival running smoothly. We were pleased to welcome a few new helpers this year and trust they enjoyed the experience. We hope they will be willing to help out again next year. Volunteers are a vital part of the Festival and I know that the Board and all the organisers are extremely indebted to the time and effort you put in, we cannot thank you enough.
Those of you who were at the final concert at Hovingham in July will have heard our Chairman, Robin Andrews appealing to our Members and Friends to recruit new ones – and to encourage our existing Friends to become Gold or Silver Members. Perhaps you invited some of your own friends along to Festival events, if so then please encourage them to become members as well. Without the funding from the Arts Council we need to make ourselves more ‘self-sufficient’ and one way that the members can help with this is to increase our numbers and therefore our income. Subscriptions are due on January 1st 2014, and forms with all the details of the revised membership costs and benefits are in the new publicity brochure that is enclosed with this newsletter. The new Festival mugs proved very popular indeed and we sold a lot during the
Festival. They are still available for sale, gift boxed at £10, they would make an excellent Christmas present for your friends. I have been the Friends Membership Secretary for about 10 years now and feel the time has come to allow someone else the chance to hold that title and get to know all our members! I have enjoyed my time as the Friends representative and will continue to be amongst you at the Festival – serving coffee and generally helping wherever needed. Lorna Vasey, whom you will all know has, very efficiently, run our Box-office for the last few years, will be taking on the role of Membership Secretary. I am sure she will be a fantastic person for the job after all she knows most of you already, in fact probably more than I do! Have a happy and peaceful Christmas and I look forward to seeing you on 11th April and of course at the 2014 Festival. •
And finally… This year marked not only the 100th anniversary of Britten’s birth, but the 200th anniversary of Verdi’s and Wagner’s too. Unfortunately Festival resources do not stretch to putting on performances of either composer’s work, but here are some anecdotes to compensate.
Friends Secretary Box Office Tech Team Leader Health and Safety
Andie Cattle Lorna Vasey Sue Elm David Pearson
Lorna Vasey Sarah Walker Naomi Leveton Jon Boots
Published by: Ryedale Festival Trust, The Memorial Hall, Potter Hill, Pickering, North Yorkshire YO18 8AA – tel: 01751 475888 – email: email@example.com – www.ryedalefestival.co.uk – Chairman: Robin Andrews – Artistic Director: Christopher Glynn – President: John Warrack – Editor of Soh-Fah: Robin Andrews – Design: www.basementpress.com – Printing: InPrint-Colour
••• Sir George Henschel, founder conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, had been requested by Verdi to send him some of his compositions. When Henschel asked to what address they should be sent, Verdi, without the slightest suspicion of conceit or affectation, said “Oh, address them simply ‘Maestro Verdi, Italia’ ”. ••• Life at Bayreuth has always been pretty solemn, but even Wagner singers need to relax. One year the cast of The Ring held a competition as to who could cause another to laugh in the wrong place. Birgit Nilsson was the first to score when, as Brünnhilde locked in magic sleep on the rock, she placed on her bosom a hotel room sign for Wolfgang Windgassen as Siegfried to find: ‘Do not disturb’. He got his own back at the following performance when he flung open his cloak for her to read, ‘Please ring for service’.