Ivor Novello-nominated composer Alex Groves collaborates with Ben Goldscheider to bring together the rich timbre of the horn and the modern textures of electronic sounds, with a programme including Olivier Messiaen’s Appel Interstellaire and Groves’ own Single Form (Dawn) alongside music by Thea Musgrave and Bethan Morgan Williams.
“Goldscheider is becoming a musical Bear Grylls, fearlessly leaping through dangerous terrain. You find yourself with him every step of the way.” Huffington Post
Take a look at the video above/to the left for Ben's introduction to the concert, and below for a musical taster.
In the Crypt (2015) by Bethan Morgan-Williams.
Horn: Ben Goldscheider
Electronics: Pete Stollery
Bethan Morgan Williams described her composition: “The samples that make up the electronics interweave to produce a blanket of sound, juxtaposed with striking and percussive piano. Extended horn techniques create an exciting, virtuosic, and technically-demanding piece, with nuances relying on a contrast between conventional tuning and beautiful (sometimes haunting) natural tunings.”
Pat Marsh interviews our director, Guido Martin-Brandis, about The Elixir of Love.
Our director, Guido Martin-Brandis, and designer, Sophie Lincoln, created a 1950s seaside setting, looking (in Guido’s words) for “a sense of carnival, possibility, and searching for the unexpected” as well as for all of the incredible glamour of that period – defined by “impossible claims in cartoonishly deceptive print advertising…”
Wild Arts is announcing five performances of Handel's Messiah this December, conducted by Orlando Jopling. This event gives audiences a taste of how the music may have sounded during Handel's era, thanks to an ensemble of Britain’s leading period instrument performers.
The performances will kick off at St Michael and All Angels in Chiswick, London, on the 9th of December. Chichester Cathedral in West Sussex will host the concert on the 12th. Subsequent dates are scheduled at The Art Workers’ Guild in Bloomsbury, London, on the 14th, the Parabola Arts Centre in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, on the 15th, and finally, the Layer Marney Tower in Essex on the 17th of December.
The English-language oratorio, Messiah, was composed by Handel in 1741 and debuted in Dublin in 1742. Despite an initial modest reception, it has since grown into one of the most performed choral works in Western music. The composition, which uses texts from the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer, provides a musical narrative of Jesus Christ's life, death, and resurrection. Known for its powerful choruses, including the iconic “Hallelujah Chorus", Messiah continues to connect with audiences through its stirring melodies and spiritual resonance.
As the Opera Evening tour enters its busiest month, here's a clip of Martha Jones singing Weill's "One Life to Live" (from Lady in the Dark) at Iscoyd Park back in May.
Film by @HarveyFilms
From 26th September to 1st October 2023 the Roman River Festival will return for its 23rd season. Featuring a diverse programme programme ranging from classical masterpieces to ground-breaking contemporary compositions, the festival promises an exciting week of virtuosity and immersive experiences.
Opening in Wivenhoe, the festival commences with pianist Huw Watkins, who will perform alongside Orlando Jopling and members of the Wild Arts Ensemble. Their energetic programme features two piano quintets by Bartok and Shostakovich and promises to be a stimulating opening night.
On Wednesday, the Sacconi Quartet will perform Beethoven in the Dark. This immersive production, conceived by Tom Morris, the former Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic, will be a unique performance of Beethoven’s evocative String Quartet Op. 131.
Wednesday is set to be an intense evening of music with a second concert presenting horn player Ben Goldscheider and composer Alex Groves. Their extraordinary collaboration features innovative use of electronics, performing compositions that push the boundaries of traditional music.
With a departure from the avant-garde, Thursday sees a return to more traditional chamber music with cellist Rainer Crosett who, accompanied by pianist Daniel King Smith, has a compelling programme ranging from Beethoven to Isang Yun.
On Friday the a cappella ensemble Apollo 5, praised for their fresh approach to vocal music and versatile repertoire, will perform in the Norman church of St Mary the Virgin in Wissington. This ancient church features a beautiful 15th Century fresco of a dragon adorning the north wall.
On Saturday, set in St. Andrew’s in Fingringhoe, there will be evening of music that explores the remarkable contributions of female composers to chamber music. Mezzo-soprano Marta Fontanals-Simmons, harpist Olivia Jageurs, and flautist Chloe Vincent will perform a diverse programme with compositions from Clara Schumann to Rosy Wertheim.
For the grand finale in Coggeshall, Sacha Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra’s Olivier Stankiewicz along with an ensemble of brilliant musicians, will perform Mozart’s Serenade No. 10 for Winds, often referred to as Gran Partita. This seven-movement masterpiece is an extraordinary composition that could only have originated from one composer.
The Roman River Festival is deeply committed to sustainability and implementing environmentally friendly practices in its events. Roman River is also dedicated to fostering an appreciation of music amongst younger audiences through concerts tailored for schoolchildren. These live classical performances are instrumental in igniting a sense of wonder and curiosity in children, thus paving the way for a future generation of music lovers and aspiring musicians.
The full programme of the 23rd Roman River Festival can be viewed on the Wild Arts website www.wildarts.org.uk/roman-river-festival.
Gut strings, despite their capricious temperament and shorter lifespan compared to modern synthetic strings, possess a unique and irreplaceable quality in terms of their visceral and expressive nature. This quality becomes particularly evident when used in a composition like Schubert's String Quintet.
“In no better environment are they suited than Schubert’s String Quintet” writes violinist Will McGahon.
Schubert's String Quintet is a piece known for its abundance of tension, both in terms of harmonic progressions and palpable emotional intensity. The use of gut strings amplifies these elements, bringing forth a distinct tonal quality that complements the inherent character of the composition. The deep, rich, and sometimes painful colours of the music are enhanced and made idiomatic by employing the tools and materials with which Schubert himself was familiar.
Gut strings have a specific timbre and response that can capture the essence of the music in a way that synthetic strings may struggle to replicate. Their organic nature allows for a more nuanced and personalised approach to interpretation, enabling the performer to explore the full expressive range of the instrument.
The imperfect and unpredictable nature of gut strings adds an element of rawness and authenticity to the performance, making it an ideal choice for a piece as emotionally charged as Schubert's String Quintet.
By choosing to use gut strings, Will finds a connection with the historical context of the music and embraces the unique qualities they bring to the performance. His personal preference and commitment to using gut strings in the face of more technologically advanced alternatives demonstrate a profound appreciation for the expressive potential of these traditional materials.
“I can’t imagine it any other way. It’s been a few years now that I’ve been using gut, I’m never looking back!” Will McGahon.
For more performances on gut string or with Will and the Wild Arts Ensemble, take a look at our Concerts page.
For the final concert of the Spring Series by Wild Arts, the Bloomsbury Players are set to perform Franz Schubert's String Quintet in C major at The Old Library in Colchester at the end of the month (7.30pm, Thursday 25th May 2023).
Schubert's String Quintet in C major, D956, is widely regarded as one of the greatest chamber music works ever written. The piece, composed in 1828, just two months before Schubert's untimely death, is imbued with a sense of introspection and melancholy, while also featuring moments of intense passion and exuberance. The quintet, scored for two violins, viola and two cellos, is considered one of Schubert's most technically demanding works, requiring virtuosic playing from all five musicians.
The Bloomsbury Players' performance of this seminal work on gut strings (as opposed to modern strings made of metal alloys) promises to be a unique and unforgettable experience for audiences. The ensemble (with key members Sijie Chen and Will McGahon on violins and Orlando Jopling, and joined for the night by John Crockatt on viola and Hugh Mackay on second cello) has a reputation for delivering powerful and moving performances, and their rendition of Schubert's quintet is sure to be no exception. From the opening bars of the first movement to the final notes of the finale, the Bloomsbury Players will showcase their exceptional musicianship and artistic sensitivity, bringing to life the emotional depth and complexity of Schubert's masterpiece.
Get ready for a captivating summer of world-class opera, as Wild Arts brings a new Opera Evening show to 30 stunning venues across England. Following on from our sell-out tour last summer, this year’s show promises to be even more magical than ever before...
Imagine sitting under the stars in an open-air theatre, listening to some of the most touching arias and great operatic moments of all time. This 75-minute show is a mix of opera and musical theatre, featuring Rossini, Handel, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Mozart, Verdi, Puccini, Tchaikovsky and Sondheim, with music from West Side Story, The Marriage of Figaro, The Barber of Seville, and many more. You'll be transported to another world with Wild Arts' breathtakingly high musical standard, showcasing a gorgeous quintet of musicians and a most cunning choice of excerpts, mischievously well acted.
From Boconnoc in Cornwall to Chillington Hall in Staffordshire, Wild Arts' Opera Evening will be performed in some of England's most magnificent country houses. "We're thrilled to be bringing our Opera Evening to these fantastic venues across England," says Artistic Director Orlando Jopling. "This is your chance to get your summer opera fix at a very reasonable price. We promise exceptional performances against the backdrop of these stunning venues."
The Opera Evening will begin on 4 May at Iscoyd Park, Shropshire, and conclude at Carlton Towers on 23 September. You'll experience some of the greatest stories of all time, up close and personal, with dramatic intrigue, jealousy, comedy, idealism, and a dash of pure love. Tickets start from £25 and are available now, and most venues welcome picnicking (so you can enjoy the quintessential summer garden experience!).
Don't miss out on this unforgettable evening of world-class opera!
The Consone Quartet, an acclaimed period-instrument ensemble, are set to perform a captivating programme of Haydn, Onslow, and Mozart at The Old Library in Colchester this month (7.30pm, Thursday 27th April 2023).
The first piece on the programme is Haydn's Quartet in Eb major, Op. 64 No. 6, also known as the "Fantasia" quartet. This work is one of Haydn's most innovative and experimental quartets, featuring unusual structures and rich harmonies. The Consone Quartet's performance promises to bring out the many nuances and complexities of this captivating work.
The second piece on the programme is Onslow’s Quartet in Eb major, Op. 10 No. 3. This is a lesser-known piece from the composer, who, despite being wildly popular in his time, has been unjustly forgotten by many. His quartets are characterised by their dramatic intensity, innovative use of harmony and rhythm, and their deep emotional expressiveness. The Consone Quartet's performance of this work is sure to be a powerful and moving experience, conveying the drama of Onslow's music.
The final piece on the programme is Mozart's Quartet in Bb major, K589. This work is one of Mozart's last quartets and is widely regarded as one of his finest works. The piece is marked by its elegant melodies, intricate counterpoint, and overall sense of balance and harmony. The Consone Quartet's performance will underscore the beauty and elegance of Mozart's music.
Originally built just before the turn of the century, The Old Library in Colchester is a wonderful venue for this performance with its excellent acoustics. This handsome neo-Jacobean building creates an intimate atmosphere that is perfect for chamber music performances. The venue regularly hosts a range of cultural events, including exhibitions, talks, and concerts.
The Consone Quartet is renowned for their exceptional performances on period instruments, and their ability to bring out the unique qualities of the music they perform. Their deep knowledge of the classical repertoire, combined with their passion for chamber music, promises to make this an unforgettable evening of music. The concert on Thursday 27th April 2023 will be a wonderful evening that should not be missed.
A short extract from our Così fan tutte rehearsal at Layer Marney Tower in 2022 (left).
Feedback from our 2022 tour (below).
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