Saturday, 22 March 2014

Wardsbrook - Sussex summer festival

I don't as a rule quote press releases verbatim but this is an exception because it's so snappily written :

"Wardsbrook Concerts’ annual festival of song in a magnificent Tudor barn in Ticehurst, East Sussex is fast becoming one of the summer’s essential musical fixtures. Founded last year by British tenor Toby Spence, his brother Magnus and conductor Edward Gardner, Wardsbrook announces a dazzling line-up for 2014 including Dame Felicity Lott (Sunday 18 May), Ian Bostridge (Sunday, 25 May), Christiane Karg (Sunday, 8 June) and Gyula Orendt (Sunday, 22 June).

Commenting on Wardsbrook Concerts, Toby Spence said: “We had no idea whether we could find an audience for art song in Sussex on a Sunday morning when we launched last year but we did and, more than that, they want more. Song is an exquisite art form that enables both performer and listener to venture from German Lieder to French romanticism with a little American light stuff thrown in too. It’s onwards and upwards for 2014 with a terrific line-up of singers.”

Five reasons to come:

1. Dame Felicity Lott – Sunday 18 May This year’s Wardsbrook season is opened by one of Britain’s best-loved sopranos, Dame Felicity Lott, who has graced every major concert platform in the world. True to form, she brings classic French repertoire to Wardsbrook with songs from Fauré, Debussy, Lenoir and Bernard as well as Reynaldo Hahn who, although Venezuelan, wrote in the classical French style. She also sings German songs from husband and wife team Robert and Clara Schumann as well as “lighter” repertoire from Ivor Gurney, Frank Bridge and Richard Rogers. Dame Felicity is accompanied by Sebastian Wybrew, recently described by the Daily Telegraph as being “out of the top drawer of today’s young musicians.”

2. Ian Bostridge – Sunday, 25 May Ian Bostridge has chosen an all-Schubert programme for his Wardsbrook debut. The Guardian newspaper describes him as “one of the world’s greatest lieder tenors”. The actor Simon Russell Beale said that Schubert “can make time stand still”. What better way to spend a Sunday morning in early summer than listening to Ian Bostridge sing such great Schubert songs as Im Frühling and Aus Heliopolis I and II as well as the haunting little song, Ins stille Land.

 3. Christiane Karg – Sunday, 8 June The recital by the beautiful young Bavarian soprano Christiane Karg was one of Wardsbrook’s highlights last year when she made her debut on a hot summer’s day in June. Her enchanting performances on the concert platform have charmed audiences the world over. This year Christiane brings a mixed programme of Schoeck, Wolf, Schoenberg, Strauss and Debussy. Christiane is accompanied by Joseph Middleton who has been described by The Times as “the cream of the new generation.”

4. Gyula Orendt - Sunday, 22 June Toby Spence hopes that Wardsbrook will introduce at least one rising star each year. This year it is baritone Gyula Orendt who was born in 1985 in Transylvania. He studied singing at the Franz Liszt Conservatory Budapest and in 2010 he won the Franciso Viñas Competition. Since then he has been a member of the Volksoper Wien and joined the young artists programme of Staatsoper Berlin. He is now a full-time member of the Berlin Staatsoper. until 2015. Gyula will sing Mahler, Schumann, Kodály and Bartók songs.

5. St Michael’s Hospice All profits from Wardsbrook Concerts will be donated to St. Michael’s Hospice in Hastings. St Michael’s Hospice provides palliative care for adults with life limiting illnesses such as cancer, heart failure, chronic respiratory disease, neurological conditions and HIV. The hospice has 30 beds, a Day Therapy Centre and a 24/7 Hospice at Home Service and, since opening in 1987, has cared for more than 12,500 people. St Michael’s relies on public support to raise the great majority of its annual running costs of £5 million. Box Office Tickets cost £75 including a two-course lunch and wine. For more information about Wardsbrook Concerts, visit: or email All the recitals take place on Sunday mornings, followed by a two-course lunch and wine."

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