Classics Marathon Day – a triumph

Classic Music Marathon 56Last weekend saw Nicola Benedetti lead the cream of Scotland’s orchestras, classical musicians and ensembles in one amazing marathon day of music at the heart of the Commonwealth Games, produced by Glasgow UNESCO City of Music.

There has never been a day like it in Glasgow – it was a feast of many flavours: from Baroque to Tango, Scottish to Indian, solo to mega-orchestra. Nicola undertook a personal marathon for the day, rehearsing and performing three concerts with different orchestras: a challenge every bit as extreme as running 26 miles.

The programme included performances by Red Note Ensemble and Kuljit Bhamra, Dunedin Consort, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Hebrides Ensemble, RSNO and BBC SSO and Scottish Ensemble.

Ryedale Festival 2014

The Ryedale Festival takes place from Friday 11 to Sunday 27 July 2014 in one of the most attractive parts of the country, Ryedale in North Yorkshire. With venues ranging from picturesque country churches, theatres and some of the most celebrated stately homes in the country, the Ryedale Festival 2014 presents an impressive seventeen days of opera, concerts and literary events. As well as some great names in the classical music world, Ryedale Festival provides a platform for a number of outstanding, young professionals, many of whom perform in the popular series of Coffee Concerts. No Yorkshire Festival would be complete without a brass band, and we are delighted to welcome Kikbymoorside Brass Band for our Garden Party at on the last day of the Festival.

Key highlights include:
New opera production
Monks of Ampleforth Abbey in rare public performance
Five world premieres commissioned by Ryedale Festival
Triple concert at Castle Howard – one of twenty two venues
Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy
Italian and WW1 strands

Ned Bigham’s new album ‘Culebra’ is a musical tribute to the Scottish landscape

culebra“Bonnie Charlie” in a World Premiere Recording

“Will ye no come back again” is among the most famous of Jacobite songs by Lady Nairne which find new life in this world premiere recording of five rhapsodies by Ned Bigham, performed by the dazzling strings of the Scottish Ensemble.

Commissioned by Creative Scotland in 2010, Bigham’s inspired re-imagining of ballads, that also include “The 100 Pipers”, “Caller Herrin”, “The Rowan Tree” and “The Auld Hoose”, were first performed by the Ensemble in that same year as part of Points of Departure – new music from Scotland  in Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Art. Subsequent performances have included The Crear Arts Centre in Argyll. Ned’s ancestor Lady Nairne came from a Jacobite family who sheltered Bonnie Prince Charlie in their home.

The five settings form part of the first CD release on Aruna Records, published by Faber Music. It also includes the composer’s moving collection of orchestral miniatures inspired by the grandeur of the Scottish Highlands, “An Caisteal”, “Glenfinglas”, “Sail Mhor” and “Portsonachan”, in a stellar performance by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

The album is bookended by two parts of the title piece, performed by the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra. Composed just before the death of his father, they are dedicated to him. Following this sad event Ned left London and returned to rural Sussex in order to maintain the family estate, a move which fostered a newfound appreciation of landscape and nature, and inspired the epic, ambient orchestral texture of these movements.

Both orchestras are conducted by the acclaimed Gregory Rose, Music Director of the Jupiter Orchestra, Jupiter Singers, Singcircle and CoMA London Ensemble.

On “Culebra” Ned Bigham proves himself a composer of rare subtlety, and much of his music has a meditative, reflective quality. Influenced by composers as diverse as Vaughan Williams, Tavener, MacMillan, Arvo Part, Gorecki, Holst, Delius, Ravel, Mahler and Messiaen, “Culebra” is a very personal body of work that reflects Ned’s ruminations on location, history and family, distant memories finding continuity in the present. “Culebra” is a luscious sonic experience, a portrait of a singular voice in contemporary composition.

Release date: 19 May 2014