A world premiere – at a live concert
On Monday 5th October, Chiltern Arts presented the world premiere of Fenella Humphreys newly-conceived work, Vivaldi's Four Seasons Reimagined. It featured all four of Vivaldi's concertos (arranged for violin, accordion, percussion and double bass) alongside three brand new pieces by Adrian Sutton, Bethan Morgan Williams and Cheryl Frances-Hoade.
The 102 socially-distanced audience members in Henley-on-Thames were the first to hear this amazing concert, and the feedback was overwhelming – both about the music itself, and also from audience members who were so grateful to be able to attend a live concert in these difficult and strange times.
Audience comments included: "Just to say what a wonderful evening. The organisation was impeccable, the music stunning…" and "It was fabulous, so wonderful to watch and listen to a live concert again. Thank you for working so hard to put it on." and Fenella herself said "You did the best thing that's happened for very many months. And you did it insanely well. And I'm so grateful there really aren't the words to express it properly."
Our 2020 Autumn Concerts concluded with the Consone Quartet performing a gorgeous programme of Schubert and Beethoven as part of a Concert and Dinner event at The Gatsby in Berkhamsted.
We're proud to have taken the first steps towards creating successful, safe, enjoyable events in this new, socially-distanced world we find ourselves living in.
A film of Britten Saint Nicolas: first phase recording
In late September 2020, at St Giles' Cripplegate in London, in the first phase of our digital Saint Nicolas project, we recorded movements 1, 2 and 9 of Britten's Saint Nicolas with Nick Pritchard, Ken Burton, I Fagiolini, the City of London Sinfonia, pianists Iain Farrington and John Reid and organist Stephen Farr. It was a brilliant day, everyone involved worked incredibly hard to squeeze everything into the four hours we had available to us – and above all, it was wonderful to be in the room hearing and experiencing real live music-making between this excellent group of musicians.
From this recording we have created the guide tracks for the virtual choir – whose contributions we will be receiving until the end of November.
Bill Barclay (director) and Alex Barnes and his team (sound and vision) worked tirelessly throughout the session to get exactly the right shots that we needed to make this short film an unforgettable experience for you this Christmas, documenting this time we are living through with music and poignant images. The image above is from photographer Matthew Johnson and shows conductor Ken Burton and socially-distanced CLS and I Fagiolini. This phase of the project was made possible thanks to Arts Council England, and our generous donors to our initial crowdfunding campaign. We are now raising funds to complete the film in 2021, and further information is available at https://chilternarts.com/saint-nicolas/
DAME EVELYN GLENNIE, DANNY DRIVER, THE MARIAN CONSORT AND A NIGHT OF CABARET TO LOOK FORWARD TO AT THE CHILTERN ARTS FESTIVAL 2020
As 2020 draws nearer, the music world is turning its mind to celebrating 250 years since Beethoven’s birth – and Chiltern Arts joins the festivities with a programme celebrating overcoming adversity in the arts, with its usual array of venues across the Chilterns, including Henley-on-Thames, Marlow, Berkhamsted, Great Missenden, Wallingford and, Princes Risborough.
‘It’s a busy year for Chiltern Arts,” says Creative Director, Naomi Taylor, “I’m particularly excited to have a theme linking all events for the first time this year. And there are lots of opportunities to get involved, as well as simply sitting back and enjoying – there’s the Come and Sing day and a poetry competition, and we also have a very hands-on Youth Music and Art Day… come and join us for what we think will be a brilliant week!”
Chiltern Arts offers music for all tastes, from brass chamber music to piano trios to cabaret to Renaissance choral music and everything in between. One of the highlights of the 2020 programme is undoubtedly a mini-residency from eminent solo percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie. She is performing with jazz Trio HLK in Henley-on-Thames on 4th March; and with Matthew Wadsworth (lute) in a world premiere performance at the Candlelit Lute concert in Great Missenden on 5th March – definitely not one to miss.
Chiltern Arts’ popular Concert and Dinner event returns to The Gatsby in Berkhamsted, this year with music from members of the Piccadilly Dance Orchestra, featuring cabaret and a seven-piece band. Think ‘20s and 30s high society entertainment – grab a glass of fizz and enjoy turning back the clock in the perfect setting!
More information online at chilternarts.com/festival-2020