Ryedale Festival celebrates the joy of mystical songs

THE 2022 Ryedale Festival is underway, hosting 300 artists in 52 concerts from this week to July 31.

Under the artistic direction of Christopher Glynn, the festival will feature the music of Handel and Vaughan Williams; six world premieres will be presented and the 50th anniversary of Swedish supergroup Abba will be celebrated.

A strong roster of artists in residence will be in Ryedale for the festival. Baritone Roderick Williams will conduct two of the four concerts marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of Ralph Vaughan Williams, accompanied by pianist Glynn and other artists in residence from the Maxwell Quartet.

At the heart of the festival will be Mystical Songs on July 20, when Williams and the Maxwell Quartet complete their residencies by joining Glynn at St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church, Pickering, for an hour-long 8pm program that will bring together two highlights of early 20th century British music.

Edward Elgar’s mysterious and deeply personal Piano Quintet in A minor will be performed alongside Vaughan Williams’ visionary Five Mystical Songs, complete with Roderick Williams’ new arrangements of Vaughan Williams’ folksong arrangements of Captain Grant, She’s Like The Swallow, Proud Nancy, O Who Is rapping at my window? and Harry the Tailor.

“I had wanted to bring Roddy and the Maxwells to the festival for a long time, not for a gig but for residencies, and after signing them both up I thought it would be good for them to do a collaboration,” says Christopher.

“Then I thought about what music should be, and I was drawn to this incredible moment in Elgar’s career: his incredible end-of-bedroom works, his Indian summer.

“To go with that, you have Vaughan Williams walking into the British Library, burying himself in Elgar’s score and making up his mystical songs. Bringing those spiritual highlights together will be so uplifting.”

Christopher talks about the “fresh” impact of the Maxwell Quartet on the works of Vaughan Williams. “It’s great because the Maxwells have a special relationship with folk music that they brought to the arrangement of these folk tunes,” he says.

“We will have a few days together and it will be an interesting time because Roddy and the Maxwells are wonderful storytellers.”

Welcoming the residencies this summer, Christopher says: “They are really important because they allow the public to develop something deeper with the musicians, finding that they have a connection with the artists that grows when they see them several times. time.

“It’s going to be exciting to see what comes out of this partnership, and it’s about creating some very unique things: a once-in-a-lifetime chance to hear these artists perform together. It’s a moment in time and no one knows if the chemistry will work but”

This is where Glynn, pianist as well as artistic director, comes in as the “matchmaker” when he sees the potential for affinity between musicians on the concert platform. See you on July 20 to see the fireworks that go off when the Maxwells meet Roddy!

In another festival residence, the National Youth Choir will present a 1 p.m. program on the theme of the environment, the coast and the fishing industry of the North East at the Church of St Martin-on -the-Hill, Scarborough, July 22, with works by Vaughan Williams, Weather Report by Bob Chilcott, the Yorkshire premiere of When The Wet Wind Sings in 40 parts by Errollyn Wallen and the uplifting finale of Green Love by Joanna and Alexander Forbes L’Estrange.

“It will be a completely contrasting residency with a very different energy, leading up to the performance in Scarborough,” says Christopher. “We are also preparing the National Youth Chamber Choir to perform with Philharmonia Baroque in a program of works by Handel at Hovingham Hall. [July 25, 2pm]and it will be interesting to see if there are any sparks there, especially as director Richard Egarr began his career with the National Youth Choir.

The San Francisco Philharmonia Baroque period-instrument orchestra (and its British director Egarr) will make their debut at the Ryedale Festival. “It’s their first time touring the UK and they’re a fantastic band,” says Christopher. “We managed to get support to bring them in after their management came to scout the festival and they loved it!”

Members of the National Youth Orchestra will also join guest electric violinist Roberts (CORRECT) Balanas and conductor/choirmaster Ben Parry at the Milton Rooms, Malton, from 3-5 p.m. on July 23 for Come And Sing Abba!. You can also participate by rehearsing and then performing Abba’s greatest hits, with Balanas’ world premiere of his medley Abba.

Abba at Ryedale Festival, Christopherhow come? “I noticed that there was a significant Abba anniversary this year, and although I have been appointed to lead a classical festival, the question is: what constitutes classical music,” says -he.

“If the music is 50 years old, isn’t it classical music?! We’ve come up with a concert that nods to Abba and classical music all rolled into one.”

For more festival details, visit: ryedalefestival.com. Ticket office: 01751 475777; www.ryedalefestival.com; in person from Memorial Hall, Potter Hill, Pickering, second floor, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Mystical Songs will be among the concerts to be recorded for broadcast on RyeStream in conjunction with the Royal Philharmonic Society.

By Charles Hutchinson

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