English Music Festival returns to the Dales

Em and Rupert Marshall-Luck at Aysgarth church last year. Photo: Pip Pointon.

The English Music Festival returns to the Dales on Thursday October 4 for a four-day Autumn programme which will include three world premieres and a remarkable evening of films from the Yorkshire Film Archive accompanied by music by young composers.

Em Marshall-Luck, the founder director of the English Music Festival, will be the reciter for the World Premiére Performance of Alan Ridout’s Ferdinand the Bull, at the soirée at Simonstone Hall at 6pm on Thursday, with her husband, Rupert Marshall-Luck as the violinist.

The programme that evening also includes Bach’s Partita in E major for solo violin and Paul Lewis’ Le Morte d’Arthur.

The festival continues at 7pm on Friday at St Andrew’s Church, Aysgarth, with simultaneous film screening of the six winning scores of the EMF Young Composers’ Film Music Competition. The films, newly commissioned by the EMF from the Yorkshire Film Archive, present black and white and early colour material about the landscape, agriculture and transport in the Dales. Many locations will be recognisable including Aysgarth, Castle Bolton, Hawes, Hardraw and Richmond.

Pianist Duncan Honeybourne returns to the Dales for the morning concert at St Andrew’s on  Saturday. Last year he gave a virtuoso solo performance – so this year’s should be an event not to be missed. The concert is entitled 1918: War’s Embers and Echoes of a Dying Age with music by Sir Hubert Parry, Sir Arthur Bliss (Elegy- FKB Thiepval 1916), John Ireland, Frederick Delius, Armstrong Gibbls, William Alwyn, Ernest Farrar and Frank Bridge.

This is followed by an afternoon of English folk songs with the Royal Northern College of Music Songsters. In the evening the Yorkshire Bach Choir will present Masterpieces of the English Golden Age including songs by Thomas Tallis, Orland Gibbons and William Byrd.

As Em Marshall-Luck explained: “The EMF was founded [in 2004] to celebrate the music of British composers of all times, with a strong focus on the Golden Renaissance of English Music – the early to mid-twentieth century – and to reintroduce to the repertoire those many wonderful works and composers who have been overlooked for many decades.”

The festival moves to Bolton Castle on Sunday October 7. In the morning Duncan Honeybourne will play on the clavichord two compositions by Herbert Howells.  The afternoon programme with Rupert Marshall-Luck and Joseph Spooner (cello) will include the UK premiére of Alan Gibbs Enigma Duet for violin and cello;  and the world premiére of Benjamin Britten’s Suite no 3 for solo cello.

World premiére’s continue in the evening with Richard Blackford’s Dreams and Spells for solo violin and narrator (Richard and Em Marshall-Luck), and Richard Pantcheff’s To Autumn.

For information about tickets and booking see www.englishmusicfestival.org.uk.