The largest year-round programme of concerts and events to date at Snape Maltings
Britten on the Radio: A Britten Weekend in association with BBC Radio 3 exploring the composer’s lesser known music for radio dramas
Bach’s B minor mass and Handel’s Theodora over Easter Weekend
Leading artists and ensembles including Mitsuko Uchida, Angelika Kirschlager, English Touring Opera, Ute Lemper, Håkan Hardenberger & Colin Currie, Tenebrae, Nicola Benedetti and Mark Padmore
Open sessions from Tin Men and the Telephone and Propellor, and public masterclasses with Håkan Hardenberger & Colin Currie; Sarah Connolly & Christian Curnyn Learning & Inclusion events including Friday Afternoons ‘Big Sing’
Snape Maltings is one of the world’s leading centres of music hosting outstanding concerts and festivals throughout the year, from the flagship Aldeburgh Festival – one of the world’s most significant classical events – to the broad range of music (including folk, world music and jazz) at the Snape Proms. Its growing role as a leading international creative campus including research, experimentation and development allows artists the opportunity to immerse themselves in this place of musical learning, with time and space to test their ideas. Snape Maltings produces a year-round programme of activity for professional and non-professional musicians alike, not least in its work with school children and in other creative projects in the region. The proposed site developments will expand this vision by providing more accommodation and additional music studios to allow for more residencies as well as the significant advancement of Snape Maltings as a central hub for the UK’s work in music and wellbeing.
Britten Weekend in association with BBC Radio 3, Friday 27 & Saturday 28 October 2017
The part of Britten’s early professional career he spent writing music for film is relatively well-documented but his contribution to the world of radio drama is less heralded: many of the nearly 30 scores he produced are lost. Britten Weekend on 27 & 28 October - in association with BBC Radio 3 - centres round Britten’s highest-profile collaboration in this field, with poet and playwright Louis MacNeice. The Dark Tower is dedicated to Britten and is widely acknowledged to be the finest of MacNeice’s many works for radio and was broadcast live by the BBC in 1946. Robert Ziegler conducts the BBC Concert Orchestra in Robin Brooks’ production which recreates the original broadcast with the 12-strong cast acting to the microphone under the tower of Orford’s medieval church on Friday 27 & Saturday 28 October. BBC Radio 3 will broadcast this on Sunday 29 October.
The weekend continues on Saturday 28 October with a special edition of Radio 3’s arts and ideas programme, Free Thinking which will explore Britten’s relationship with radio on both sides of the Atlantic. Aldeburgh Young Musicians perform their own compositions for radio, inspired by The Dark Tower as a prelude to the evening’s concert with the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Andrew Gourlay and with pianist Sunwook Kim. They perform some of Britten’s radio compositions which transferred into concert works. This is particularly evident in the sparkling final movement of his Piano Concerto which draws on his music for the D.G Bridson adaptation of King Arthur. The full suite arranged by Paul Hindmarsh, is also programmed alongside Vaughan Williams’ Incidental Music to The Mayor of Casterbridge, Copland’s Quiet City and Britten’s rarely heard Recitative and Aria for Piano and Orchestra.
Easter Weekend, Good Friday 30 – Saturday 31 March 2018
Easter Weekend gives the opportunity to celebrate this pivotal event in the Christian calendar with music bursting with drama. The Gabrieli Consort and Players, conducted by Paul McCreesh, mark Good Friday with Bach’s monumental B minor mass whilst the freshness and invention of Haydn’s String Quartet No. 3 ‘Emperor’ and Dvořák’s Quartets in E minor and E major, performed by the Albion Quartet, herald the Spring and the new life of Easter Sunday. In the evening of Saturday 31 March, Christian Curnyn conducts the Britten-Pears Baroque Orchestra and singers of the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme in Handel’s Theodora: a tale of martyrdom and loyalty in the early Church. Earlier in the day, Aldeburgh Voices along with Fellows of the National Youth Choir of Great Britain and The Suffolk Ensemble, conducted by Ben Parry, perform a programme centering around James MacMillan’s Seven Last Words from the Cross. It is a vivid and profound setting of Christ’s last words and contemplates the darkness before the light. It is preceded by Mozart’s Adagio and Fugue and Avro Pärt’s I am the vine.
Leading Artists and Ensembles at Snape Maltings
Throughout the season, many leading artists and ensembles visit Snape Maltings. On Saturday 21 October 2017, Music Theatre Wales brings acclaimed East-meets-West opera The Golden Dragon by Péter Eötvös based on the play by Roland Schimmelpfennig. Set in a Chinese restaurant, director Michael McCarthy and conductor Geoffrey Paterson lead the team in telling the story of a kitchen boy whose decayed tooth is found in a bowl of soup. He’s a long way from home with no papers and is looking for his sister who has been forced into a very different kind of service just next door.
On Sunday 22 October 2017, pianist Mitsuko Uchida has chosen three of Schubert’s sonatas composed between 1817-25 to demonstrate the high peak of his creative maturity: Piano Sonata in B major, Piano Sonata in A minor and the Piano Sonata in D major. Mezzo-soprano Angelika Kirchschlager performs lieder from turn-of-the-century Vienna on Sunday 29 October 2017, including songs by Alma Mahler, Gustav Mahler, Berg, Strauss and Korngold, with pianist Julius Drake.
English Touring Opera comes to Snape Maltings twice over the year: they present the first performance in the UK of the 1744 version of Rameau’s Dardanus in a new production by Douglas Rintoul with Jonathan Williams conducting, on Friday 3 November 2017. They return on Thursday 12 until Saturday 14 April 2018 with Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro on the Thursday and Friday with director Blanche McIntyre and conductor Christopher Stark; and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi & Il Tabarro on the Saturday directed by Liam Steel and James Conway respectively, both conducted by Michael Rosewell.
Concerts in November continue with chanteuse Ute Lemper bringing Berlin cabaret, Parisian chansons and Argentinian tango on Friday 10 November 2017 whilst virtuoso trumpet and percussion duo Håkan Hardenberger & Colin Currie with Britten-Pears Young Artists perform music by Harrison Birtwistle, Britten, Joe Duddell and Steve Reich on Saturday 11 November 2017. That evening Tenebrae gives a concert of remembrance conducted by Nigel Short including Tavener’s anthem Song for Athene, Howell’s elegy Take Him, Earth, for Cherishing alongside music by Judith Bingham Elgar, Gurney, Parry, Schoenberg and Vaughan Williams.
Violinist Nicola Benedetti performs an unaccompanied recital on Sunday 11 March 2018 with a programme including Bach’s Partita in D minor & Sonata in E major, and Ysaÿe’s Sonata No. 3 & Sonata No. 5. The week continues with tenor Mark Padmore performing songs by Schubert, Britten and Vaughan Williams, with pianist Julius Drake and violist Krzysztof Chorzelski on Thursday 15 March 2018.
Development of Young Artists
The development of young artists has always been central to Snape Maltings’ vision and throughout the season visiting artists provide masterclasses for those on the Britten-Pears Young Artists Programme: Håkan Hardenberger & Colin Currie from Tuesday 7 until Friday 10 November 2017 focus on works for trumpet and percussion of the 20th and 21st Century; and mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly and conductor & harpsichordist Christian Curnyn throughout the week commencing Monday 26 March 2018, preparing Handel’s Theodora.
Aldeburgh Young Musicians is an artist development programme for advanced young musicians and composers aged 8-18. Its year-round programme includes a combination of intensive week-long residencies and weekends, individual lessons, professional advice, mentoring and performance opportunities. In October in the week leading up to the Britten Weekend, AYM will spend a week crafting their own music for radio and perform extracts in a concert on Saturday 28 October 2017.
Chamber Music in Residence is designed to offer a flexible, intensive study period, mentored by leading teachers in inspiring surroundings. For more than 25 years, young string quartets and chamber ensembles have come to Snape Maltings for a series of winter and spring residencies and throughout January-March 2018 perform Friday lunchtime concerts in Aldeburgh’s Jubilee Hall. This includes the Ducasse Trio (12 & 19 Jan); Mettis Quartet (26 Jan & 2 feb), Alauda Quartet (9 & 16 Feb); Improviso (23 Feb & 2 Mar). North Sea Ensemble (9 & 16 March) and the Albion Quartet (23 Mar).
There is also a series of Open Sessions which offers a chance to catch a glimpse of musicians working behind the scenes. Amsterdam based trio Tin Men and the Telephone (13 Oct 2017), embarks on a unique project: working with six UK partner arts organisations to explore new approaches to the experience of live performance, with audiences being directly involved. Other Open Sessions include The Unknown Girl of the Seine (5 Oct); Gamelan music from Aris Daryono (5 Nov 2017); a work exploring the parallels between witch-finder Matthew Hopkins in 1640s East Anglia and the social climate of post-referendum Britain by composer Kerry Andrew (12 Nov 2017); a cross-genre sonic and visual landscape installation from Propellor (9 Feb 2018); Piano Circus prepare for its 30th anniversary year in 2019 (24 Feb 2018); and expandING percussion explores composition for that group of instruments (25 Feb 2018).
Learning and Inclusion
This year’s Big Sing celebrates the UK-wide and international singing project Friday Afternoons on Friday 17 November 2017. It was originally conceived as the culmination of the worldwide 2013 centenary celebrations and takes its name from songs the composer Benjamin Britten wrote for his brother’s school to sing every Friday. Each year Friday Afternoons commissions a new set of songs, over time creating a significant resource of songs especially written for young people’s voices. Now in its fifth year, the annual project champions the joy of collective singing and encourages as many young people as possible to join in: it has got more than 80,000 young people singing since its launch in 2013. It culminates in the ‘Big Sing’ day when performances take place across the UK as close as possible to 22 November (Britten’s birthday).
Friday Afternoons ‘Song Bank’ has amassed over 50 songs, each year commissioning a new set of twelve. Composer Luke Styles has written this year’s new set which was premiered at the Aldeburgh Festival in June and thousands of young people from across the country will participate in the Big Sing, performing a selection of highlights from the Song Bank including Luke Styles, Jonathan Dove (2016), Nico Muhly (2015), Gwyneth Herbert & Jason Yarde (2014) and two of Benjamin Britten’s original songs for Friday Afternoons.
This year’s Big Sing is led by 15 musicians from the Voces Cantabiles Music Foundation, including internationally renowned a cappella ensembles VOCES8 and Apollo5 plus their scholars. As well as performances by the professionals, the day will include the traditional massed singing in the Snape Maltings Concert Hall with almost 800 children from 21 schools in Suffolk in attendance, including primary, high and special educational needs schools. There will also be workshops using the Friday Afternoons resources as a starting point and then encouraging the young people to respond creatively.