Saturday, 31 March 2012

Margaret Faultless leads her final concerts with Devon Baroque at Dartington Great Hall - and what a finale! 'Baroque and the Golden Age of English Music' Dartington Friday 23 to Sunday 25 March

In years to come, we will all remember the glorious 'English Baroque Weekend' at Dartington Hall (23-25 March). In a spectacular send-off for Leader and Musical Director Margaret Faultless, Devon Baroque staged a residential weekend charting the 'Golden Age' of English music.

The residential places, for the weekend of Baroque experience, were fully booked and the public concerts were also a sell-out. The weather was perfect. Residents and visitors could stroll in the magnificent grounds of Dartington Hall, between lectures, demonstrations, open rehearsals and recitals by arguably the best baroque ensemble in the South West - Devon Baroque.

The final crowning glory was a full performance of Henry Purcell's opera from 1680, 'Dido and Aeneas' - Glorious! We were all sad to hear that Margaret will be leaving the group (she is involved in even more exciting projects further afield) but what a note to end on!

Harpsichordist Jonathan Watts, the new leader of Devon Baroque, was there to perform in a special concert for the residents on Sunday morning (and it was very special), but gave way to Margaret Faultless, and regular Devon Baroque harpsichordist Andrew Wilson-Dickson, for the weekend's three main concerts.

Friday Evening: An English Banquet
Margaret Faultless (violin) leads
Rachel Chaplin (baroque oboe)
Andrew Wilson-Dickson (harpsichord)
Andrew Skidmore (baroque 'cello)
Elizabeth Kenny (theorbo!)
Mezzo-Soprano Meg Bragle sings
a feast of songs from the early 17th century
- ending with Handel's 'Harmonious Blacksmith'
and Trio Sonata in D minor
Meg Bragle ended with one more song
- by Thomas Arne

Sunday Morning: Grounded in England
James Risdon is in the Ship Studio
with a clutch of baroque recorders
(James is unable to see and learns
baroque pieces from Braille manuscripts
He is the Music Officer for the
Royal National Institute for the Blind
in London, where he helps others to
overcome partial sight to achieve
an equal enjoyment of music
- see Memorising Music)

James Risdon with his 'descant in D'
- and two able accompanists
Jonathan Watts (harpsichord)
Emily White (sackbut!)
The sackbut, Emily told us,
cost more to manufacture in Tudor England
than Concorde did in the seventies
- and the sound matches the price!
Wonderful Tudor music in the Dartington Ship Studio
(a fabulous venue! - who could forget the

Young Musicians' Showcase
in the Ship Studio in June last year.)

Sunday Afternoon: Henry Purcell 'Dido and Aeneas'
Margaret Faultless leads with Julie Hill and Linda Hannah (violins)
Andrew Wilson-Dickson (harpsichord)
Steve Gleed and Helen Roche (violas)
Jan Spencer and Andrew Skidmore (basse de violon)
Elizabeth Kenny (theorbo - and an amazing baroque guitar solo!)
A full chorus with Christopher Adams (Aeneas)
Meg Bragle (Dido), Emma Walsh (Belinda)
and a surprise 'sorceress' - Stephen Carter (counter-tenor)
The sun floods in on a delighted audience!

Farewell to a baroque star
champion of baroque music in Devon
for more than twenty years
Leader of Devon Baroque
Margaret Faultless

In the Dartington quadrangle
visiting baroque singing sensation
Meg Bragle
mezzo-soprano from Michigan USA
who managed to make time in her
international performing schedule
to come and sing for us at
Dartington Great Hall.
What a treat for us all!

It's a wrap!
The organiser of the 'English Baroque Weekend'
was Devon Baroque Trustee, Jeremy Logie
(That was Jeremy's voice we could hear
on the 'Classical Journey' on Phonic FM on Tue 20 Mar)
The weekend ends as it started, with a sumptuous party.
Seen here at the party with Jeremy -
theorbo and baroque guitar virtuoso,
Elizabeth Kenny!

Follow this link for the full details of Devon Baroque's weekend of
'Baroque and the Golden Age of English Music'

Future Devon Baroque events will appear on the same site.

What's next at Dartington? - Indian classical poetry, music and dance at the 'Tagore Festival' (Friday 6th to Monday 9th April).

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