Revamp for music festival

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FOR MORE than 20 years Etchingham Parish Church has been the venue for a music festival during the first week of July.

This year the 14th Century church will be filled with the sound of exquisite music once again, however, the name of the festival has been changed to reflect its true nature as a music-only festival.

The Etchingham Music Festival’s logo and branding have also been updated to support the new look and feel of the event.

Peter Katin, the renowned concert pianist and international recitalist, remains the festival’s patron and will be performing on Thursday July 7 at 7pm.

Dr Katin’s programme includes works by Schumann, Schubert, Debussy and Chopin. Each year more than 400 people attend the week-long festival, which consists of concerts, a supper evening and concludes on the final Sunday with a free “songs of praise” concert for people in Etchingham and the surrounding areas.

The programme this year has an international flavour.

The opening concert on Saturday July 2 features graduate students from the Royal Academy of Music: soprano Runette Botha from South Africa, tenor Thomas Elwin former head chorister at St Paul’s Cathedral and Sussex-born accompanist Elizabeth Burgess. The programme includes Handel, Mozart, Bellini and Donizetti, plus English and German songs and an Afrikaanse Kunslied (Afrikaans Art Song).

This year’s Sunday piano recital sees the UK debut concert of two exceptionally talented young sisters from Germany.

Both Danae and Kiveli Doerken have won the prestigious International Steinway Competition in Hamburg and will play Beethoven’s B Major Sonata, works by Brahms, the Wanderer Fantasy by Schubert and Liszt’s Rhapsodie Espagnole all played on the festival’s Steinway.

On Wednesday July 6, following their success at last year’s festival, the Mitrea Piano Quartet return for a second year.

Mitrea is formed of students from the Royal Academy of Music and are winners of the Harold Craxton prize with Florian Mitrea from Slovakia on piano, Yuka Ishizuka on violin, Glen Donnelly on viola and Dan-Di Wang on cello.

The quartet will play Mozart’s Piano Quartet in E Flat Major, Frank Bridge’s Phantasie Quartet and Schumann Piano Quartet in E Flat Major.

Frank Bridge spent much of his life living near Friston and this will be the first performance of one of his works at the Etchingham Festival.

The Saturday Supper concert features celebrated cabaret entertainer and local resident, Courtney Kenny in an evening entitled Let Me See You Smile.

Courtney will entertain the audience with songs by Noël Coward, Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Flanders & Swann, Tom Lehrer and others.

A two course supper will be served during the interval.

The final concert of the festival at 4pm on Sunday 10 July is free to all-comers and will see Trajecti Voces a vocal ensemble from the Netherlands perform a varied programme consisting of Dutch and English a cappella music spanning four centuries. Starting with music from Elizabethan composers Peter Philips, William Byrd and John Bull and their Dutch contemporaries, Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck and Cornelis Thymanszoon Padbrue, followed by romantic songs by Edward Elgar, Hubert Parry and Charles Villiers Stanford; the concert will culminate in arrangements of English and Dutch folk songs by Jetse Bremer and Ralph Vaughan Williams.

The proceeds of the retiring collection will be donated to the parish church.

For further information, and to download a booking form, visit www.etchinghammusicfestival.co.uk or call the Booking Office on 01580 860199.