Easter Monday sees the first stage of what could be an annual Arts and Music Festival in Battle and could also mark the first performance of a resident orchestra for Battle.”
An Easter themed concert given by the newly formed Battle Festival Sinfonia will mark the beginning of a unique partnership between the festival and the church which will place St Mary’s at the heart of cultural activities in Battle. The church will host both opening and closing concerts of the festival which will run from Friday 24th to Sunday 26th of October 2014.
The Battle Festival Sinfonia is an ensemble drawn from players who perform regularly with the London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic and Glyndebourne Festival orchestras. All have close connections with Sussex and either live, work or have family in the county. Plans have been discussed with The Very Reverend Dr John Edmondson, Dean of St Mary’s, concerning the possibility that the orchestra form a permanent residency at the church. This would enable further opportunities for concerts throughout the year as well as developing community based projects and allowing the participation of musicians in prominent services at the church. Dan Cornford, Artistic Director of the Battle Festival and regular performer with major orchestras including the London Philharmonic, aims to break down the barriers often associated with classical music and bring world class musicians to Battle. Dan said “We would love to make Battle a real centre for culture and the arts in East Sussex. We want to offer great musical experiences to everybody in the 1066 Country region with concerts by renowned, world-class musicians held locally so people do not have to travel to London all the time. We want to offer opportunities for local people from all sections of society to participate in live music and innovative arts projects and to really put culture at the heart of the community.”
Easter Monday will see soprano Jennie Witton who was born in West Sussex, and contralto Mae Heydorn who lives in Ringmer, combine with the Battle Festival Sinfonia to present a programme of Easter themed music at 6pm in St Mary’s Church. Both have featured in productions at the Glyndebourne Festival and will sing solo arias from Bach’s St Matthew Passion, the Easter Hymn from Cavelleria Rusticana by Mascagni and “Easter” from the Five Mystical Songs by Vaughan Williams. They will be joined by oboist Owen Dennis, who is a member of the Galliard Ensemble and has performed with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, as soloist in a performance of Marcello’s Oboe Concerto.
Tickets for the Easter Concert are currently available from outlets including Farrago on Battle High Street, the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill, the Tourist Information Centres in both Rye and Hastings, and via the Festival box office on 01797 229 049. Tickets cost £7.50 in advance, £10 on the door, and under 16s free of charge.
Further information about the concert and the October festival can be found on www.BattleFestival.co.uk.