Barnet parish church is to host the first concert of this year's High Barnet Chamber Music Festival -- and the two soloists on the opening night, French horn player Annemarie Federle and tenor Brenton Spiteri have been busy rehearsing.
A highlight will be Britten’s Serenade for tenor, horn and strings, a favourite of the festival’s artistic director Joshua Ballance.
The festival opens on Saturday 2 July at the St John the Baptist Church at 7.30pm with another four concerts over the following two weeks. (See festival programme below).
Each concert provides a platform for young professional musicians and the aim of the festival is to stimulate arts and music education in North London and Hertfordshire while embracing diverse and adventurous programming.
Joshua (far right) – seen above with Annemarie, pianist Joseph Beesley, and Brenton – said he had chosen the Serenade because he had known and admired Britten’s work since he was 12.
The Serenade was an ideal piece for a chamber music festival and the setting of the parish church was very supportive acoustically and a great setting for the 16-strong New London Orchestra.
Annemarie said it was only the second time she had performed the Serenade, so that was a challenge, but she agreed with Joshua a church offered a great atmosphere setting for a horn player, with good acoustics.
Brenton said that he was taking on the role of tenor in the Serenade for the first time. “I can see it has lots of tricky moments, but it combines Britten’s romantic nature with his ability to ask deep questions.”
The two soloists were full of praise for Joshua’s initiative in launching the High Barnet Music Festival and it was an opportunity for pianist Joseph to work with an old friend.
“I go back a long way with Joshua and the chance to support him is very rewarding as he has put so much effort into establishing the chamber music festival.”
The opening concert, which will be conducted by Joshua, opens with Ailsa Dixon’s Nocturnal Scherzo, then Britten’s Serenade and finally Schoenberg’s Verklarte Nacht.
Three of the concerts in the festival will be staged in the newly opened Friends’ Recital Hall at Queen Elizabeth’s School for Boys.
For music lovers in and around Barnet this will be their first opportunity to see the interior of a £4 million new building which includes a 230-seat hall, eight practice rooms and three additional classrooms.
High Barnet Chamber Music Festival programme:
Saturday 2 July 7.30pm St John the Baptist Church, High Barnet, the New London Orchestra, French horn player Annemarie Federle and tenor Brenton Spiteri, with music by Dixon, Britten, and Schoenberg. Tickets £15; 8-25 years, £5.
Saturday 9 July, 7.30pm St John the Baptist Church, the Echea Quartet with music by Lutyens, Bartok, and Mendelsshon. Tickets £15; 8-25 years, free.
Wednesday 13 July, 6.30pm The Friends’ Recital Hall, Queen Elizabeth’s School, charity showcase concert featuring staff and students in aid Ukraine. Admission free, booking advisable.
Friday 15 July, 8pm, The Friends’ Recital Hall, Queen Elizabeth’s School, the ensemble Mad Song with music by Mazzoli, Saariaho, Tower, Causton, Monk Feldman, and Reich. Tickets £10; 8-25 years, £5.
Sunday 17 July, 3pm, The Friends’ Recital Hall, Queen Elizabeth’s School, cellist Ben Tarlton and pianist Robin Green, with music by Beethoven, Nadia Boulanger, and Rachmaninoff. Tickets £10; 8-25 years, free.
For more details about the festival go to: www.hbcmf.co.uk