Crickhowell Choral Society will hold its 27th Music Festival during the weekend of the May Bank Holiday.
The theme is ‘Manifesto’, but don’t worry, it’s a celebration of music that held great expectations for composers early in their careers and so can be seen as a ‘musical manifesto’ of their talent and here’s a taster of what to expect.
Friday April 28: Fans of Welsh folk music will need to form an orderly line at the Clarence Hall in Crickhowell for the Fesitval’s opening performance. Angharad Jenkins and Patrick Rimes are founder members of the celebrated Welsh folk group ‘Calan’ and they’ve just branched out on their own to produce a debut album together - Amrwd, or Raw if your Welsh is rusty. They are both quite extraordinary fiddle players and to this they now add their vocal talent. As the title suggests, their music is raw, pure and simple. The urge to join in will need to be resisted.
Saturday April 29: The headline piece for the choir’s opening performance is Mozart’s Mass in C, also known as his ‘Great Mass’. Cast your mind back to the film ‘Amadeus’ and this is the music playing in the background when his envious rival Salieri realizes that the young Mozart may actually be a genius.
There are Bach-like fugues, operatic arias, symphonic forms and choral textures creating some truly ravishing moments. We’ll welcome some new soloists to perform in all this, and will welcome back the leader of the Festival Orchestra, Marianna Szücs.
Sunday April 30: Áine Smith, a former Crickhowell choral scholar, will be the soprano soloist in the Bach Cantata BWV 192 at the Sunday morning service in Llangattock and will also perform in the evening’s daunting programme, headlined by Handel’s Dixit Dominus, a tour de force of his vocal fireworks. It remains one of his most revered pieces.
There will also be the first performance in Wales of three Vesper Psalms arranged by Zelenka, an extraordinarily prolific and talented Czech composer of the Baroque period whose work is increasingly recognized.
To round off the evening is a Vivaldi treat, again much neglected; his Confitebor tibi is a miniature masterpiece and like the rest of the programme, not to be missed.
Monday May 1: The annual opportunity to hear some of our talented choral scholars now setting out on their solo careers. It’ll be a varied programme of songs and arias, and the informality will be helped along by tea and cakes.