Part 1 of 2: Leeds Lieder, Beverley Early Music and Swaledale Festivals.
Any music lovers planning a UK holiday this Summer would do well to look at what’s on offer in God’s Own County, with no fewer than seven Festivals of superb concerts, many in locations which can only be called idyllic. This survey can only give a taste of the riches on offer, with introductions to Leeds Lieder, Beverley Early Music and the Swaledale Festival, and coming up in another article, to Aldborough, Ryedale, North York Moors Chamber Music and York Early Music Festivals.
We kick off at the end of April, with the high-powered Leeds Lieder Festival, or ‘Wigmore Hall oop North’ as it’s sometimes called. This year it’s in collaboration with the Howard Assembly Rooms, the spectacular newly refurbished space which provides the perfect setting for these intimate recitals. The quality of the performers does indeed bring to mind one of the Festival’s other partners, the Wigmore’s Director John Gilhooly being the Honorary Patron of Leeds.
The opening recital on 28 April features Dorothea Röschmann partnered by the Festival’s director Joseph Middleton, in a programme of Schumann, Mahler, Wolf and Wagner. The next day, you can hear Robin Tritschler and Christopher Glynn with songs by Britten, Schubert, Brahms and Hahn amongst others. On Saturday 30th, you can hear Ian Bostridge and Imogen Cooper with an all-Schubert programme including Schwanengesang. Sunday 1st brings Konstantin Krimmel with Die Schöne Müllerin in the afternoon, and Louise Alder with a programme including Fauré and Mahler in the evening, both accompanied by Joseph Middleton.
“Any music lovers… would do well to look at what’s on offer in God’s Own County…”
Surrounding these starry concerts there’s a vast and varied programme including Masterclasses from greats such as Amanda Roocroft and Joan Rodgers, as well as a myriad of talks and study events. All in all, it makes for a fascinating long weekend. Further details are here.
Next up is the very different Beverley and East Riding Early Music Festival, established in 1988 to celebrate the town’s historic association with musicians from medieval times. The special draw here is the setting of the wonderful Minster, which many consider the equal of the much more famous York, not to mention the delightful little town. It’s a short Festival, but packed with treasures, beginning on Friday 27 May with Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos presented by Florilegium, and concluding on Sunday 29th with the music of John Wilbye presented by I Fagiolini. The Festival is administered by the National centre for Early Music in York, and you can find all the information here.
From the gentler landscape of the East Riding to the rugged majesty of the Dales, we now travel to spectacular Swaledale for the 50th anniversary season of the Swaledale Festival, which runs from 28 May to 11 June. It’s a wide-ranging programme, taking in full-blown orchestral concerts as well as evenings with such varied performers as Paco Peňa and the Leyburn Brass Band. There’s a series of guided walks exploring the magnificent scenery of the Dales, and many of the events take place in beautiful settings such as St Andrew’s Church in Aysgarth, near the famous Falls.
The 50th Anniversary Gala concert on 28 May, in the glorious setting of Ripon Cathedral presents a performance of Handel’s Messiah with starry soloists including Nick Pritchard and Rowan Pierce. Other highlights include the Brodsky Quartet with a programme including Schubert’s String Quintet on Tuesday 31 May, and concerts by Jeneba Kanneh-Mason, Peter Donohue and Alexander Markov. There’s so much on offer that you really need to visit the Festival site to get an idea of how to plan it all.
• Still to come: Previews of the Aldborough, Ryedale, North York Moors Chamber Music and York Early Music Festivals.