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Arcadia Music Festival

  • St. Giles Church, Downton on the Rock England, SY8 2HU United Kingdom (map)

Bach - Das Musikalische Opfer (The Musical Offering), BWV 1079 and Ich habe genug Cantata, BWV 82

Artistic Directors: Eleanor Alberga and Thomas Bowes
Composer: Eleanor Alberga
Piano: Joanna MacGregor
Thorvald Blough
Timothy Gill
Thomas Bowes
Harpischord and Organ:  Shaun Ward
Violin/Viola: Clifton Harrison
Viola: Clare Finnimore
Double bass: 
Josie Jobbins
Flute: Karen Jones
Oboe: Jane Marshall
Piano: Eleanor Alberga

The greatest composer ever? Well, with eleven musicians we hope to cover a wide range of the great man’s vast output and to provide a meaningful portrait of his times, outlook and personality to boot.  There is instrumental music, religious music and one of the great musical puzzles, ‘A Musical Offering’, written towards the end of his life and as a result of one of the most celebrated encounters in musical history.   Do come along to the illustrated talk – event 2 – when we’ll attempt to unravel the hidden messages.  A performance of the complete work is something of a rarity so event 4 will be full of atmosphere in the lovely setting of St Giles Downton.    

We are absolutely thrilled to have one of the country’s foremost pianists, Joanna MacGregor, playing arguably the supreme keyboard work of any epoch, The Goldberg Variations, in event 3.   This concert will also include two works by my fellow artistic director; one of them a homage to the great Chaconne for solo violin and designed to be played as a prelude to it. (I wonder how many times if ever these two supreme peaks of Bach’s output have been heard in the same concert? ) Our first foray into St Laurence’s Ludlow and the fabulous new Steinway there should make for an unforgettable evening.

We are delighted to have the wonderful young baritone Thorvald Blough to sing us through Arcadia.  A thread of song will culminate in event 4 with the Cantata Ich habe Genug, but he will be contributing something to each concert with unaccompanied spirituals – and most pivotally in event 1.  This concert might be called a meditation on the nature of the solo and features Bach’s music for unaccompanied flute, cello and violin.  The setting of St Mary Magdalene Leintwardine should be ideal in amplifying these rarified thoughts and sounds.

And of course we will be starting with our now customary relaxed taster concert at the Sun Inn in Leintwardine.  And here we can perhaps relive the evenings Bach himself organized at Zimmerman’s coffee house in Leipzig – the early eighteenth century equivalent of your friendly neighborhood tavern.

Earlier Event: 4 October
Oxford Chamber Music Festival
Later Event: 12 October
Kreutzer Quartet