Stour Music 2014
20 – 29 June 2014
Following the special celebrations in 2012 to mark our 50th anniversary, last year’s festival was always going to present a challenge, but in the event the 2013 programme lived up to the high standard that we have come to expect from Stour Music. The concert by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, with conductor William Christie and the Croatian mezzo Renata Pokupić, and the performance of the Monteverdi Vespers were predictably popular and sold out very quickly. But for those adventurous enough to think outside the box, the concerts given by Ensemble Meridiana and La Morra, two early music groups from Switzerland, proved to be memorable highlights of the festival.
This year, once again, we are bringing over two European ensembles making their first appearance in this country – Societas Incognitorum from the Czech Republic and La Compagnia del Madrigale from Italy. In addition there will be welcome returns by the distinguished international harpsichordist and conductor, Trevor Pinnock, the outstanding baroque violinist Rachel Podger, Robert Hollingworth’s critically acclaimed and innovative ensemble I Fagiolini, and the now well-established and popular Sacconi Quartet. For the Choral Concert on the final Sunday afternoon, the Festival Choir departs from its more traditional baroque repertoire, to make one of its occasional forays into 20th century music, in particular to welcome Mark Padmore, one of the country’s leading tenors, as the soloist for a performance of Gerald Finzi’s evocative setting of Wordsworth’s Intimations of Immortality, and Vaughan Williams’s beautiful Serenade to Music, with words taken from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.
There is a myth that has evolved over the years, which has led many people to believe (erroneously as it happens) that there is no point in trying to book tickets for Stour Music because it is always ‘sold out’. Would that were the case, my task would be so much simpler! In fact, it is rare that (apart from the final Choral Concert) any of the ten concerts on offer is fully booked during the Friends’ priority booking period, and some of the most memorable Stour experiences have come from what I might describe as ‘the unknown’. So be adventurous, and think outside the box!