Running 11 to 27 October, the Ealing Autumn Festival returns for its fourth year with the theme Britten among friends and the Fludde! No surprise then that at the heart of festival will be a celebration of Britten’s centenary, marked by a series of celebrations incorporating music, film, art, literature and heritage events.
One highlight will be The Story of a Suite (12 October, St Mellitus Church, Hanwell) in which cellist Matthew Barley will perform or examine each of the elements from which Britten drew inspiration for his third cello suite, namely Bach’s suites for unaccompanied cello; Russian folksongs and sacred music; and Britten’s relationship with Rostropovich as both friend and muse. This last element will also be explored in a combined documentary and performance to be screened at 12pm before the evening concert. Joining Barley will be the Voskresenije (‘Resurrection’) chamber choir from St Petersburg, directed by Jurij Maruk.
Other festival highlights include a piano recital featuring Britten and other British composers associated with him performed by Janet Obi-Keller and David Wordsworth (the Wordsworth/Obi duo, 16 October, University of West London), and an orchestral concert of works by Britten, Shostakovich and Mahler by West London Sinfonia (19 October, St Michael’s and All Angels Church, Chiswick).
Bringing the festival to a close will be two performances of Britten’s opera Noye’s Fludde (26 and 27 October, St John’s Church, Southall) led by Simon Thorpe as Noye, Magdalen Ashman as Mrs Noye and the Bridge Quartet supported by over 150 children, young people and amateurs in the chorus of animals, ripieno orchestra and stage crew.
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The Story of a Suite