Beautiful Music Performed By Great Artists In An Idyllic Hill-Top Setting
Dates For Your Diaries
The 2016 Llandeilo Festival Of Music - 9th July to 17th July.
Looking Back At The 2015 Festival.
The 2015 Festival can be considered an outstanding success on several different fronts. It attracted healthy and appreciative audiences to St.Teilo’s Church and to the National Trust’s Newton House. It featured appearances by some of Britain’s most notable musicians and actors and it was notable for the performance of two Welsh premieres. Significant financial support was provided by the Colwinston Charitable Trust and the Leche Trust, as well as by the Llandeilo Fawr Town Council and this enabled the Festival to maintain the artistic standards for which it has become renowned, thereby further enhancing its ever-growing reputation for musical excellence.
This year the Festival opened with a notable ‘first’, when Professor Heini Gruffudd of Swansea University, introduced the Welsh premiere of Jame Whitbourn’s “Annelies”. Professor Gruffudd’s mother had been a refugee from Nazi Germany, where his maternal grandmother had died in the notorious Bergen Belsen concentration camp, and it was highly appropriate therefore that he should have been the one to preface this first performance in Wales of a setting of a libretto (by Melanie Challenger) which had been based on “Ann Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl.” With the title role sung by Elin Manahan Thomas, supported by the musicians of Armonico Consort, this was an ambitious opening event, by any standards, and the capacity audience expressed the warmest of appreciation at the end of the performance.
The second of the two premieres was to be two nights later, when the charismatic baritone, Roderick Williams, having delighted the Royal Albert Hall audience with his two separate appearances at the 2014 BBC Promenade Concerts, included in his programme a song cycle by composer Tim Torry entitled ‘The Face of Grief’. For this performance, which was attended by the composer himself, Roderick Williams was accompanied by pianist Susie Allan. In between these two events the National Trust’s Newton House had played host to a memorable day of music-making, with a recital by the renowned violinist, Madeleine Mitchell, as well as an afternoon programme of piano trios by pianist Clare Hammond, with violinist Sara Trickey and cellist Gregor Riddell.
Speaking of cellists, they don’t come much bigger than the iconic Stephen Isserlis, who had delighted another capacity audience with his Monday night recital, partnered by pianist Tom Poster, and the Festival week was to continue in this vein, with the scintillating brilliance of the Vida Guitar Quartet (again in Newton House) and a closing concert by the highly regarded Carducci Quartet, fresh from their acclaimed performances at New York’s Carnegie Hall and Washington’s Library of Congress. Jazz aficionados were treated to what has now become the traditional evening in the Cawdor Hotel, when the inimitable Salena Jones displayed her consummate mastery of the art of jazz singing, supported by a trio of Ronnie Scott regulars which included the peerless Geoff Eales on piano. Back in St.Teilo’s it was time for the spoken word, and leading British actors Joanne David and Henry Goodman returned to the Festival, with pianist/writer Lucy Parham, to bring the sad story of Robert Schumann’s relationship with his wife, Clara, and the composer Johannes Brahms, to vivid life. The traditional closing choral event featured another return appearance, when the young singers of Côr y Cwm repeated their triumph of two years previously, under their remarkable conductor, Elin Llywelyn Jones, in front of a capacity, and highly appreciative audience.
As in previous years there was a full programme of free Lunchtime Recitals and Coffee Concerts, with performances by highly gifted local musicians, including students from both the Chethams School of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and it is worth mentioning that one of these drew the largest attendance in the Festival’s short history, when an audience of over 350 crammed into St. Teilo’s for the lunchtime event. Finally, the Festival was able to develop its crucial programme of musical education, with visits to local schools by members of the Vida Guitar Quartet and members of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. If not for any other reason, the mixture of delight, coupled with such enthusiasm on the part of the youthful participants in the various master classes would, in itself, be eloquent and adequate justification for what we are striving to achieve in Llandeilo each summer.
The Programme for 2016
Arrangements for the 2016 Festival are well underway, with the welcome return of some of the wonderful artists who have performed for us in previous years.