Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Budleigh Festival 2011, Saturday to Saturday 16-30 July, A Special Concert by the Dufay Collective: 'La Dolce Vista' Thursday 21 July

During the same week that Dartington Summer School opens with an overwhelming wealth of renaissance and Baroque music in the Great Hall, an equally impressive line-up of musical stars will perform on the other side of Devon.
Once again the Budleigh Music festival brings the very best musicians to East Devon for a series of lunchtime and evening classical concerts to satisfy all tastes.
Sat 16 7.30pm Budleigh Salterton Male Voice Choir
                                  & Exmouth Renaissance Chorus
                                                       St Peter's Church
Thu 21 7.30pm The Dufay Collective "La Dolce Vista"
                                  Mediaeval Italian Music
                                                       Temple Church
Fri 22 12noon Liz Grier, Harp Temple Church
               7.30pm Lara Mouriz, Mezzo Soprano
                                   Joseph Middleton, Piano
                                                        Temple Church
Sat 23 12noon/3pm 'Esther' An Operetta for Children
                                   by Nicholas Marshall
                                                        Temple Church
               7.30pm Cardiff Polyphonic Choir
                                   Sergey Rachmaninov "Vespers"
                                                        St Peter's Church
Mon 25 12noon Marie Langrishe, Violin Temple Church
                  7.30pm The Honeymead Ensemble
                                   Schubert and Glazunov
                                                        Temple Church
Tue 26 12noon Bethany Partridge, Soprano
                                   Alex West, Piano  Temple Church
                  7.30pm Festival Orchestra and Chorus
                                  Conductor: Nicholas Marshall
                                  Recorderist: John Turner
Wed 27 12noon South West Camerata, Youth Orchestra
                                  St Peter's Church
               3pm John Turner and Nicholas Marshall
                                 "Lives in Music" Temple Church
                    7.30pm The Orchestra of St Paul's
                                 Conductor: Ben Palmer
                                        Die Fledermaus  St Peter's Church
Thu 28 12noon Alexandra Dariescu, Piano  Temple Church
                 3pm Will Nicholson Organ Recital  St Peter's Church
                     7.30pm Hugo Ticciati, Violin
                                 Charles Economou, Piano
                                        St Peter's Church
Fri 29 12noon Lizzie Drury, Soprano & Saxophonist  Temple Church
                  3pm Hugo Ticciati, Violin (Bach & Arvo Pärt) Temple Church
                      7.30pm Gootlieb Wallisch & The Piatti Quartet
                                 Bach/Mozart/Smetana/Dvořák  Temple Church
Sat 30 12noon Lazarus Quartet (Mozart & Schubert) Temple Church
                 3pm Gottlieb Wallisch, Piano (Mozart & Liszt) Temple Church
                      7.30pm Georges Bizet, "Carmen"  St Peter's Church


The Dufay Collective: "La Dolce Vista" Mediaeval Italian Music

David Hatcher demonstrates
how 'buzz' is produced on the Gothic Harp
(Regular listeners will remember
Crediton Luthier, Shaun Newman,
 describing how to make one of these harps
on the 'Classical Journey' on 15 February

Jacob Heringman
is quizzed by audience members
about his lute, which he plays
mediaeval style - with a quill

David tunes the rebec
(In the background the local artist
records the scene)

The full ensemble
David demonstrates an extraordinary set of bagpipes
Leader William Lyons also on bagpipes
Vielles: Emily Askew and Alexis Bennet
Percussion: Viven Ellis (vocals) John Banks (harp & gittern)
Jacob with his trusty lute!

Budleigh Festival: "Esther", an Operetta by Nicholas Marshall Saturday 23 July

"Esther" - an Operetta in eight scenes by Nicholas Marshall  Sat 23 July

Nicholas Marshall, who is familiar to 'Classical Journey' listeners as the Musical Director of the Exeter Bach Society, prepared and presented a quite remarkable operetta for children at the Budleigh Festival.
Each of the eight schenes was a small gem of storytelling and humour with superb incidental music, as one would expect from a musician of Nicholas' standard.
A retentive memory and a beautiful voice
Perfect narration by Isabel Shaw-Smith
The children performed faultlessly - twice! The operetta was repeated at noon and 3pm on Saturday 23rd July. In beautiful authentic costumes, the children , whether narrating (Isabel Shaw-Smith), singing the major roles (Madeline Buckley as King Ahasuerus, Sylvie Hodgson as Queen Esther, Orla Gunner as
The gentle, but volatile, King Ahasuerus of Persia
Madeline Buckley
Esther's father Mordecai, Adam Panhallurick as Grand Vizier Haman), or entertaining the audience as comic extras, acted their parts convincingly and with incredible grace and charm.
Isabel's introduction of Adam as Haman, drawing our attention to his devious eyes - which he demonstrated on cue, was a beautifully timed piece of comedy which let us all know what to expect.
The first chorus, starting as they intended to continue, was very clearly sung and perfectly synchronised. Every word was clear as a bell as Nicholas conducted from his position by the grand piano (not used in this performance).
Extraordinary unaccompanied singing by
Sylvie Hodgson as Esther, the King's Jewish wife
Madeline Buckley was impressively regal as King Ahasuerus, but flew into a fearful rage whenever her (i.e. his) wishes were defied.
Once the story was clearly set out in the first scene, we moved to a scene for pure entertainment. A troupe of acrobats and circus performers danced together in a delightfully simple but effective piece of choreography before each member performed their special stunt. 'Ahmed', to great suspense music from the orchestra, lifted a broom handle as if it were a heavy barbell. 'Rachel' walked a rope on the floor as if it were a high-wire. each stunt was beautifuuly crafted with that lovely element of comedy which keeps the audience amused.
The persecuted Jews petition Esther's father Mordecai
(Orla Gunner) to intercede with the King on their behalf
Adam appeared as an extra to perform a tug-of-war with 'Ahmed', introduced by Isabel as 'David and the Lion' - perfect theatre.
In the second scene the circus acts were mirrored by a 'pageant' where various potential wives tried to impress the King. (Madeline's line about 'firing' the previous Queen for non-attendance at court was one of the best in the show.) Silvie as Esther really did impress us when she appeared, quietly dignified and with her head covered. Esther's selection as the King's new wife was coupled with the appointment of Haman as Grand Vizier - a disaster for all the Jews in Persia, including Esther and her father Mordecai. The dramatic irony was enhanced by a very clever chorus with asides telling us what we had all realised already - Haman is bad news!
Their nemesis, Grand Vizier Haman
(Adam Penhallurick)
When Silvie came to sing her solo aria as the newly crowned Queen of Persia, she was understandably nervous, but very competent. To a gentle backing from the orchestra (held to a whisper by Nicholas) she sang with perfect poise and delightfully clear diction.
Ahasuerus revokes Mordecai's death sentence
and ends Haman's persecution of the Jews
The plea from the 'Jewish people' to Mordecai to intercede with the King on their behalf against Haman's repressive (i.e. genocidal) policy was sung beautifully, unaccompanied, a very moving appeal.
Before the final intercession scene there was just time for a very special glockenspiel piece played by percussionist Rosie Lester. Lightly played, in the special acoustic environment of the Temple Church, the sound was truly celestial - a perfect touch.
The full cast with Queen Esther in the centre
The wonderful acrobats are nearest the camera with
Ahmed the strong-man at the extreme left
In the final denouement violist Lucy Cross introduced Sylvie's intercession aria. Madeline, as Ahasuerus, realising Haman's duplicity and genocidal intrigue, flew into a convincing and terrifying rage. In a shocking finale to this children's operetta we are reminded of the terrible reality of politics in the ancient world. Having instigated and plotted murder and genocide, Haman could not be permitted to live. He is sentenced to hang on the gallows he himself has prepared for Mordecai. A shocking scene for children to perform.
Not forgetting Nicholas Marshall and his talented orchestra
Despite the horror of the conclusion the performance stayed sharp right to the end. Audiences at both shows were delighted and impressed by the standard of the singing, dancing and acting, and by Nicholas' inspired composition.
Many thanks and congratualtions to the actors and extras, and to the orchestra, to Nicholas for his composition and conducting, and to the Producer and Assistant Producer, Sue-Claire Morris and Gill Gray.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Edward Scull plays at the Exeter Phoenix this Friday 29th July

As he mentioned on last week's 'Classical Journey', Edward Scull is now performing percussion for local musician and composer Dan Steer.

The band 'Dan Steer' will be appearing at the Exeter Phoenix on Friday 29 July to open the 'Never Underestimate Musical Belief' ('NUMB') show in the main theatre.

Full line-up:  Dan Steer, Adam Churchyard, Edward Scull

Dan Adam and Ed will be playing from 8-9pm and 'NUMB' will take over until 1am.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Dartington Summer School opens with and amazing first week!

Summer School Week One Concerts, 23 July - 30 July 2011

As ever there is an emphasis on early music during the first weeks of the Summer School. This week contains a festival of early Italian music, from the 14th century (with the Dufay Collective) to Corelli, Frescobaldi, Carissimi and many more. We will also hear Domenico Scarlatti’s keyboard music – in different forms: on harpsichord, on modern piano and reimagined by Tansy Davies. Another ‘reimagining’ to look out for is J.S.Bach’s version of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater sung by Emma Kirkby and Nicolas Clapton. Jonathan Cohen comes to Dartington for the first time, to perform Monteverdi’s magnificent Sestina with his new group Arcangelo and to direct the Choir in Handel’s Israel in Egypt.

Saturday 23 July

The Dufay Collective
7.45pm, Great Hall
La Dolce Vista
Music From Medieval Italy
The Dufays present a new programme full of the curious delights of the music of 14th century Italy. The ‘Trecento’ saw a flourishing of the florid, virtuosic and unique style of song and instrumental music that evolved in what has been referred to as the ‘calamitous’ 14th century. Istanpittas, salterellos, rottas and trottos are just some of the instrumental delights to be heard, framed with ballatas, madrigals and caccias by Francesco Landini, Jacopo da Bologna and other leading lights of this remarkable period in music history. 
This concert is dedicated to the memory of Richard Campbell, Viol player and much missed friend and colleague.
£18.50 reserved /£14 unreserved

Sunday 24 July

A Scarlatti Alphabet
5.15pm, Great Hall
A talk by Richard Langham Smith.
£8.00 unreserved
Purcell Fantazias and In Nomines
7.45pm Great Hall
The Rose Consort of Viols
Henry Purcell’s Fantazias and In Nomines belong to that rare group of pieces (Bach’s Art of Fugue and Beethoven’s late quartets are others) whose profundity appears to be at odds with any obvious reason for their existence. An extraordinary conclusion to the long tradition of English viol consort music, their intensity of expression can still surprise us, more than 300 years since the composer’s untimely death. In this concert they are contrasted with pieces by Purcell’s predecessors Tallis and Byrd, and with electronic pieces by Jonathan Harvey and Sir Harrison Birtwistle.
£18.50 reserved /£14 unreserved
William Howard Piano Steven Devine Harpsichord
10.00pm, Great Hall
Scarlatti, Sonatas
Tansy Davies, Loopholes
Scarlatti, Sonatas
Dallapiccola, Quaderno musicale di Annalibera
Scarlatti, Sonatas
£5.00 unreserved

Monday 25 July

Finding Art for dartington - The Genesis of a Collection
5.15pm, Great Hall
A talk by Maggie Giraud.
£8.00 unreserved
Emma Kirkby Soprano Nicholas Clapton Counter-Tenor
7.45pm, Great Hall
with David Miller lute Jonathan Watts harpsichord
Baroque ensemble led by Nicolette Moonen. 
Purcell, The Queen’s Epicedium 
Lawes, Imbre lacrimarum largo 
Tarquinio Merula, Canzonetta spirituale sopra La Nonna 
Mikołaj Zieleński, Gustate et videte 
Barbara Strozzi, O Maria 
Monteverdi, Sancta Maria 
Pergolesi / J S Bach, Tilge, Höchste meine Sünden (Stabat Mater)
£18.50 reserved / £14 unreserved
The Jazz Tutors
10.00pm, Studio 30
Lewis Riley, piano
Ben Waghorn, saxophone
Andy Hague, brass
Riaan Vosloo, double bass
Peter Fairclough, drums and percussion
£5.00 unreserved

Tuesday 26 July

Israel in Egypt: 'a dramatic tour de force' or 'a jumble of epic and anthem'
5.15pm, Great Hall
A talk by George Pratt.
£8.00 unreserved
Duke Quartet with William Howard Paino
7.45pm, Great Hall
Bartók, String Quartet no 4 Sz91
Shostakovich, String Quartet no 8 in C minor op 110
Fauré, Piano Quintet no 1 in D minor op 89
£18.50 reserved /£14 unreserved
Destroying Beauty
10.00pm, Studio 3
A concert of music by Mira Calix and Tansy Davies, for string quartet, piano, voices and electronics.
£5.00 unreserved

Wednesday 27 July

Colin Booth Harpsichord
5.15pm, Great Hall
Böhm, Prelude, Fugue and Postlude in G minor
Bach, Prelude, Fugue and Allegro in Eb major
Bach, Chaconne in D minor (arr. Booth)
Bach, Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue
CPE Bach, Sonata in Bb major
£8.00 unreserved
7.45pm, Great Hall
David Miller, lute
Ibi Aziz, viol and lirone
Jonathan Cohen, keyboards and direction
Carissimi, Vanitas Vanitatum
Frescobaldi, Canzona
Frescobaldi, Madrigals (Book 1, 1608) Giunto é pur Lidia il mio Ecco l’ora, ecco ch’io Lidia, ti lasso
Monteverdi, Madrigals (Book 6, 1614) Zefiro Torna
Monteverdi, Gira il nemico insidioso Amore
Monteverdi, Madrigals (Book 5, 1605) Ch’io t’ami piu de la mia vita Deh! Bella e cara e si soave un tempo Ma tu, piú che mai dura
Monteverdi, Madrigals (Book 8, 1638) Lamento della Ninfa
Frescobaldi, Canzona
Luigi Rossi, Infelice Pensier
Monteverdi, Sestina
£18.50 reserved /£14 unreserved
Science, Originality and Fire
10.00pm, Great Hall
Gail Hennessy, oboe
Nicolette Moonen, violin
Jennifer Ward-Clarke, cello
Steven Devine, harpsichord
Anon, Prelude: old French air
Sammartini, Sonata in G major op 13 no 4
Corelli, Variations on La Folia op 5 no 12
Peter McCarthy, Esperanza (2008)
Scarlatti, Sonata
Brescianello, Trio Sonata in C minor
£5.00 unreserved

Thursday 28 July

Student Masterclass Cocnert
5.15pm, Great Hall
Selected students from this week’s courses will perform in concert.
Baroque Dance and Baroque Orchestra
7.45pm, Great Hall
Nicolette Moonen & Jennifer Ward-Clarke, musical directors
Sarah Cremer, dance director
The baroque orchestra will play and dance to the instrumental music from Rameau’s Platée.
£18.50 reserved /£14 unreserved
Music forChristian of Denmark by Heinrich Schutz & Matthias Weckman
10.00pm, Great Hall
David Staff & Emily White
Early Brass and Friends.
£5.00 unreserved

Friday 29 July

The Sound Around
5.15pm, Great Hall
A guided walk around sound installations created by participants during this week will start from the Great Hall.
Summer School Choir and Dartington Baroque Orchestra
7.45pm, Great Hall
Jonathan Cohen, director
Handel, Israel in Egypt
£18.50 reserved /£14 unreserved
10.00pm, Studio 30
Performances by the students on the Jazz course directed by Lewis Riley.
Summer School participants only

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Quills - A tale of the macabre, Barnfield Theatre Wednesday - Friday 20-22 July

Louis Ravensfield and Ben Rodwell
wait for 'curtain up'
Many thanks to Louis Ravensfield and his 'Exeter Alternative Theatre Company'. After much perparation they are performing Doug Wright's 1990s play 'Quills' at the Barnfield Theatre in Exeter for three nights this week.

Louis and Ben
as Dr Royer-Collard and M.Prouix
discuss improvements to the doctor's villa
There is plenty for classical music lovers to enjoy too. The play opens with the singing of the Helsinki Skaala Opera, also included are a recordings of the Kronos Quartet, and the Philip Glass Orchestra. During a particularly moving scene the haunting sound of Philip Glass's 'Koyaanisqatsi' adds a special frisson.

The doctor is visited by de Sade's wife
Renée Pélagie (Virginia Havergal)
Not necessarily a faithful account of his life, Quills nevertheless reflects our perception of the Marquis de Sade nearly two centuries after his death. From 1801 to 1814 he was incarcerated in the Charenton asylum in St Maurice on the outskirts of Paris. During that time Napoleon overran Vienna. Beethoven premiered his great Fifth Symphony, Nelson defeated the French fleet at Trafalgar and Napoleon's land forces were being pushed towards their final defeat at Waterloo.

Royer-Collard remonstrates with
The Abbé de Coulmier (Mike Gilpin)
A couple of references to Napoleon and Empress Josephine in the script clearly date the play, but Sarah and Chloe have otherwise tried to avoid tying the plot to a specific period. The costumes are of indeterminate period, and the extreme make-up effects hint at a terrifying fantasy world - the world inhabited by the inmates of Charenton.
The Marquis de Sade (Midge Mullin)
and the 'Lunatic Chorus'
(photo: Nigel Cheffers-Heard)
As the Marquis uses his quills (and other writing implements) to record his vivid and deviant fantasies of selfish exploitation, each other character, with unconscious irony, demonstrates his or her own cynical selfishness.

Violence and Death (you have been warned!)
(photo: Nigel Cheffers-Heard)
Louis Ravensfield and Mike Gilpin, as the consultant and director of the institution, Dr Royer-Collard and Abbé de Coulmier, are equally menacing and destructive in their own ways. The doctor is a ruthless social climber willing to exploit his patients, including de Sade, for personal advancement. De Coulmier on the other hand aspires to christian humility. This contradictory notion leads to even more disaster and suffering as persues his religious ideals.

The two main female characters Renée Pélagie (Virginia Havergal) and Madelaine Leclerk (Victoria Jones) are manipulative in their own ways and, in true Sadistic spirit kindness is punished while guile and deceit are rewarded.

Sorrel Meechan's big moment
as Mme Royer-Collard
seducing M Prouix
(photo: Nigel Cheffers-Heard)
This is a very disturbing play. De Sade in his attempts to circumvent censorship invites successively more harsh and brutal forms of repression from his captors - exceeding even his darkest fantasies. The Marquis himself and the fate that befalls him are equally shocking and definitely not for the faint-hearted.

For those who feel up to the challenge, tickets for tonight and Friday's performances are available from the Barnfield box office 6.30-7.30pm before each performance, and from 10-4 on Friday. Telephone 01392 270891

Tickets are available 24hrs from 'Quay Tickets' (£1.80 booking fee)
Telephone: 08432 080500  On Line: http://www.quaytickets.com/

Exeter Chamber Choir performs Andrew Daldorph's 'Mass for Life' with Jazz Quintet, Newton St Cyres Tuesday 19th July

Exeter Chamber Choir with Jazz Quintet
The Parish Church of St Cyr & St Julitta
Newton St Cyres

Norman Waldron and Tina Guthrie
(to his immediate left)
sing 'Go Down Moses'

Anyone listening to the 'Classical Journey' this Tuesday would have heard that the previous Saturday's 'Mass for Life' concert at Beer by the Exeter Chamber Choir would be repeated at Newton St Cyres that evening, but without the Jazz Quintet.

Nevertheless, the Church of St Cyr and
St Julitta in Newton St Cyres was packed on Tuesday night and everyone was surprised - and delighted - to see that the full jazz line-up had returned to give us all a very special evening of entertainment.

Keith Wainwright and Henrietta Vercoe
(to his immediate left)
sing 'Steal Away'
The choir opened with three spirituals from Michael Tippet's 'A child of Our Time'. To the accompaniment of the jazz quintet, and the sensuous harmonies of the choir, a series of soloists stood forward. First Norman Waldron and Tina Guthrie sang 'Go Down Moses'. Then Keith Wainwritht sang that great favourite, 'Nobody Knows the Trouble I see'. Finally Keith was joined by the high clean soprano voice of Henrietta Vercoe for 'Steal Away'.

Mike Thorne
and his soulful double bass
The choir then took a break while the quintet played Miles Davis's 'All Blues'. Three of the players were familiar as members of 'Chris Gradwell and Friends' - or 'Le Jazz' as they have sometimes been known. Front and centre was virtuoso double bassist Mike Thorne, amazing us with his outrageous solos and having the last word as always with his trademark closing notes. Tucked away on the far left was Chris Gradwell himself. His saxophone filled the building with deliciously sweet sound. Leading all, in many different roles - St Cyr and St Julitta Church Organist, Musical Director of the Exeter Chamber Choir, and composer and pianist with 'Le Jazz' - was Andrew Daldorph. Instead of the guitar playing of Andrew Barrett, the three friends were accompanied by the trumpet (and flugel horn!) of Brian Moore and the drums of Toby Perrett.

Toby's brushed snare and Brian's muted trumpet melted into the sustained notes of Chris's sax. Andrew, still standing with his back to us played one of his glorious piano solos, before giving way to Chris, who stood to deliver an amazing solo of his own. Toby's drum solo was accompanied by Mike's steady bass which set the pews reverberating. Mike polished things of on the bass in his inimitable style.

Chris Gradwell
inspired saxophone playing
The remainder of the first half was taken up by seven of Shakespeare's Sonnets, set to music by George Shearing, and sung by the choir with jazz accompaniment. The sound was lighthearted as a Broadway musical but also exhuberant and joyous. In 'Spring', based on 'Love's Labour's Lost', Henrietta Vercoe was joined by Val Howels and Sally Daldorph in a shameless chorus of 'Cuck-oo', backed up by a deep bass ripple from the men. 'Hey Ho, The Wind and Rain' gave way to a brilliant jazz finish by Andrew on the piano.

Finally the choir sang another spiritual, this time arranged by Andrew Daldorph himself. His own personal favourite, 'Deep River', was slow and emotive and filled with real joy. Chris added a really big sax solo and Toby Perrett on drums was really enjoying himself. A brief a cappella section led into the big finish by the full jazz quintet. Perfect.

After the interval we heard a piece of music which topped everything! Andrew Daldorph's own composition 'A Mass for Life'. Many people who had heard this on Saturday were back to hear it again.

Andrew Daldorph - piano
Chris Gradwell - soprano sax
'Soarin' High'
Chris Gradwell opens with an incredible passage for soprano saxophone. The choir then sing Kyrie Eleison in Latin - and English. "Lord Have Mercy" as we've never heard it before!
'Gloria' on trumpet and drums was something new again, and the choir put a really jumping rhythm into the latin text. As the sound reached it peak, soprano Ann Draisey cut in with "O Jesus Christ, you take away the sins of the world" reaching up to the very highest top notes, before repeating the performance - in Latin! All the time the fierce tungsten light behind her limned her blonde hair in a halo of celestial light - a really magical sight and sound. The big 'Amen' that followed was really phenomenal, with Andrew dragging every last ounce of energy out of the choir.
'Sanctus' featured jazz riffs and groovy links on trumpet. Andrew joined in on piano building the power before the sudden, startlingly abrupt, end.
'Benedictus' was a soft night club style jazz instrumental with the piercing sound of Brian's unmuted trumpet. An amazing sound.
'Agnus Dei' was very very light. That unmuted trumpet came again, but again it broke through in just the right way. Mike had another big bass finish accompanied by a beautiful humming chorus from the choir. Just for a change Brian was allowed to have the last word on his trumpet.
Then came a very very special moment in the proceedings. Anyone who stayed tuned to Phonic FM until 12.30 on Tuesday to hear the end of the extended 'Classical Journey' would have heard the show close with the music of 'Le Jazz' playing Andrew Daldorph's own composition, 'Soarin' High'. Following the Agnus Dei at Newton St Cyres that evening, we heard an amazing live performance of 'Soarin' High' by jazz quintet which was quite breath-taking.
The choir made themselves comfortable on chairs and on the floor while the band played on. Chris opened with his amazing soprano sax solo. Gently restarting over and over again, each time with a soft chord added by Andrew on the piano. Following a series of amazing high runs by Chris the two joined forces in a duet that just got better and better. Then Andrew broke into a piano solo - and was suddenly joined by double bass and drums. After more sublime sax from Chris, Mike finished things of perfectly with a couple of soft, soft harmonics on his double bass.

Finally a big, BIG number
Ann Draisey and Sally Daldorph
throw everything into
'Let it Shine!'

(in front, Toby Perrett - drums)
Finally we had something very upbeat. 'Let it Shine' had everyone moving to the beat - especially the members of the choir. Fantastic sax, rocking trumpet and and insistent beat kept the energy going into an incredibly impressive a cappella section with drums back up, and finally an absolutely overwhelming instrumental and vocal finish. So much sound. So much energy! What an incredible finish!

John Walker of the St Cyr &
St Julitta PCC came forward to say what we were all thinking - Thanks and congratulations on an amazing piece of music perfectly performed. We all agreed! And for an encore? 'Let is Shine' all over again! Just as amazing the second time. This choir just goes from strength to strength - and Andrew Daldorph's compositions are truly a revelation!

Snapshots from Poltimore

A new face at the Poltimore Opera Gala
Soprano Mary O'Shea

While the 'Classical Journey' was in the capable hands of Musical Director Marion Wood, concerts continued apace in and around Exeter.

Most exciting - and most sadly missed - was this year's Poltimore Opera Gala on Friday 8th July.

Mary prepares in the delightfully dilapidated
entrance hall of Poltimore House
At the piano, Margaret Chave & Jenny Shepley

The extraordinary stately home at Poltimore, with its exciting Civil War history - and more recent incarnation as a surgical hospital during the Second World War, now lies in near ruins.

Through the extraordinary energy of operatic soprano Janet McDonald, the devastated, and ransacked, building is regularly brought back to life by her live opera concerts. Each concert not only breathes life into this historic building, but also raises money towards its total renovation - a fund which is currently very much on target!

Mary performs with the mighty bass voice
of Julian Rippon

Although we all long for the day when Poltimore is fully restored, now is the time to see it and really feel the history in the devastated interior. An Opera Gala is the perfect opportunity to explore the house, and the music charts its illustrious history.

Although there is no doubt that the latest Gala will have matched the wonder of last autumn's performance (and in somewhat balmier temperatures!) there is so far no news about the programme at the event. If you were there, do please let us know.

Julian is joined by Janet McDonald for
what appears to be a Noël Coward number!

Phonic FM and 'Classical Journey' regular, soprano Mary O' Shea, was performing alongside Janet McDonald, along with Tenor Chris Hunt (sorry for forgetting your name on air Chris!) and bass Julian Rippon.

Mary has very kindly sent in some snaps of the event, which convey the atmosphere beautifully. Some other familiar faces appear too. Jenny Shepley, who accompanied the 'Opera Singers in Concert' in the Clifford Room at the Barnfield on Friday 20th May, seems to have been providing the accompaniment again.

Another new voice at the Opera Gala
Mezzo Soprano Anneke Freeland
(Thank you Mary for letting us know about her!)

Anyone wanting to know more about the campaign to preserve and restore this outstanding historic Devon building - or to offer support - log on to