The latest Battle Festival taster concert, performed last Saturday evening by the Battle Festival Sinfonia, has been hailed a major success by the organisers.
Feedback from audience members was phenomenally positive with 100% of respondents stating they would recommend the Festival to their friends.
With last weekend’s visitors travelling from Tunbridge Wells, Oxfordshire, Rye, Hastings and of course Battle itself, the potential for a wide geographical spread of visitors to October’s festival is growing with each concert.
Audience comments included “cannot be improved” “a revelation” and “magnificent” and Chairman David Furness was delighted to see, not just the Festival’s loyal core audience attending the concert, but new visitors to Battle. “I spoke to several first-time visitors to the town who had travelled here specifically for the concert. We are encouraged that these visitors have responded so positively to the concert, the festival and the town of Battle itself, and furthermore intend to recommend it to friends and family.”
Speaking after the concert, Dan Cornford, Artistic Director of the Festival, referred to the special quality of St Mary’s and how it enhanced the performance.
Dan said “John Edmondson, The Dean of St Mary’s, mentioned to me how the understanding and rapport amongst the musicians was palpable and communicated itself to the audience.
“I would add that this is often dependent upon the response from the audience. The warmth of feeling and enthusiasm which reached us throughout the evening from the audience was tremendous and was greatly appreciated by the performers.
“We are very fortunate to have in St Mary’s a concert venue which acoustically lends itself so beautifully to chamber orchestra performances.
“I sensed that tonight we were really beginning to develop a groundswell of support for the Festival and what we hope to achieve culturally here in Battle.”
Violinist Patrick Savage, former Principal First Violin in the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and leader of the Tippett Quartet, echoed these sentiments: “I couldn’t imagine a more ideal setting than Battle for a festival of the arts, and it’s such a pleasure to play at St Mary’s - fantastic acoustics and the warmest audience you could ask for.”
The audience were treated to three performances featuring Patrick as soloist: Vivaldi’s Winter from the Four Seasons, a marvelously vibrant rendition of Piazzolla’s Summer from the Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, and the energetic premiere for his own arrangement of Rosza’s North Hungarian Peasant Songs and Dances.
Alun Darbyshire, who gave a stunning performance of the Albinoni Oboe concerto and has appeared as guest Principal with the London Philharmonic and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras, said: “I really enjoyed playing in St Mary’s - the acoustic is excellent and the audience response was very warm and immediate.
There is obviously an appetite in Battle for this kind of intimate music making.”
Buoyed by such hugely favourable feedback from both internationally renowned performers and audience members, Festival organisers are currently close to completion of plans for October and hope to release information and tickets shortly.
Meantime, more information can be found on www.BattleFestival.co.uk or by contacting the team on info@BattleFestival.co.uk.