Ten days of concerts presenting amazing musical events will comprise the second New Zealand International Early Music Festival in Dunedin (NZIEMF) 27th February – 8th March, 2015. The festival is the brainchild of enthusiast artistic director and former chairman of the London Handel society Christopher John Clifford. A countertenor, Clifford has had a career spanning fifty years in the classical music world. Music that resonates from the Medieval (pre-1400), Renaissance (1400-1600) and Baroque (1600 – 1760) periods will showcase both local and international musicians and players.
It’s a long time since 1672 when in violinist John Bannister’s house at Whitefriars, London, musicians sat ‘behind a curtain for modesty’ to play music for the assembled to enjoy. In 1710 the Academy of Ancient Music was formed to present music of the Italian style, as represented by the Prussian born George Friderick Händel (1685-1759) to the public. These ‘concerts’ were at the beginning of something wonderful, entertaining performances of beautiful music everyone could enjoy.
The Flower of the Renaissance is the Opening Gala Concert on Friday 27th February in Dunedin’s Knox Church, where music is part of a tradition enriching the life of the city. For centuries the correlation between music and architecture existed, with amazing melodies scaling the heights and reverberating off faceted stone arcades to linger long in lofty places. This concert will present the St Kilda Brass and Madrigal group directed by David Burchell.
Battles Balls and Beyond to be held on Saturday 28th February in St Paul’s is an organ concert played by Christopher Hainsworth the organist of Beziers Cathedral France. Beautiful, Bold and Bawdy is the focus for the Globe Theatre Players presentation of Shakespeare to be held in the Athenaeum Octagon, Monday 2nd March.
Clifford will be involved in the Baroque Musical Feast on Tuesday 3rd March in All Saints’ Church where Pergolesi’s Stabat Matar will feature. The following evening 4th March in St Paul’s, will be a trio of Baroque Sonatas. There is an educational component, a Baroque Style Workshop held in the University of Otago for string players, keyboard players and chamber groups.
A Celebration of Music for Voice, Harpsichord and Organ in All Saints Church on March 5, will be followed on March 6 by works played on Baroque flute and Harpsichord composed by J.S. Bach presented in the Railway Station foyer. Shakespeare, Mary Queen of Scots and the Mantuan Court sounds like an enticing mix on 7th March and must say that I like the idea of a celebration of Early Dance and Dress on the program – Noblesse de Robe will be held Sunday 8th March 2pm in the Toitu Museum.
Viol player and director Jenny Eriksson of The Marais Project together with soprano Belinda Montgomery, Catherine Upex on the viola da Gamba, Tommie Andersson on Renaissance lute, theorbo and 1820’s classical guitar will travel from Sydney to perform on Saturday 7th March in All Saint’s Church. Jenny will also hold a Viol Masterclass while she is there.
The final concert under the auspices of the festival will happen on 8 March: Blow and Purcell – Master and Pupil will feature the fine young countertenor Stephen Diaz whose solos and duets by both composers will see him dueting with myself in the ravishing Ode on the Death of Mr. Henry Purcell, by John Blow, together with a duo of recorders and continuo – Like all the other events on the NZIEMF program, this is another concert not to be missed! WEBSITE | BOOKINGS NZ: + 64 27 766 9206 – Email [email protected] | On Facebook