A growing number of year-round events
The inaugural ‘Festival of New’ presents two days of freshly-devised music all composed during Snape Maltings residencies
Britten Weekend explores the composer’s string quartets with the Doric Quartet and friends
BBC Radio 3 Big Chamber Weekend focuses on Schubert performed by current New Generation Artists and friends
A five-day celebration of opera, from the Italian Renaissance to the present day
Snape Maltings is one of the world’s leading centres of music hosting outstanding concerts and events throughout the year, from the flagship Aldeburgh Festival – one of the world’s most significant classical festivals – to the broad range of music (including folk, world music and jazz) at the Snape Proms. Its reputation as a leading international creative campus including research, experimentation and development continues to grow.
The Festival of New, Friday 7 & Saturday 8 September 2018
The inaugural Festival of New opens the 2018-19 season, with two days of freshly-devised music created at Snape Maltings in residencies as part of its Creative Campus. While some of the works are complete, most are still in progress, so audience interaction and feedback are an integral part of the weekend. Events range from composer collective Bastard Assignments’ radical improvisation and performance art to singer-songwriter Naala’s exploration of synaesthesia in collaboration with a lighting designer, a sound designer, a chocolatier and a parfumier. The weekend features projects from ‘twisted brass’ band Perhaps Contraption, multimedia composer Horse Whisperer, R&B singer-songwriter China Moses and jazz bandleader Alex Webb, soprano Rebecca Hardwick and violinist Mayah Kadish, 13-piece band mixing folk, classical, electronica and improvisation Propellor, experimental music theatre duo Rebecca Hanbury and Alex Groves, and MOBO-nominated cellist and singer-songwriter Ayanna Witter-Johnson.
Britten Weekend: The String Quartets, Friday 19 – Sunday 21 October 2018
For a composer whose mature career was dominated by opera and vocal writing, Britten’s string quartets, written over nearly four decades, are fascinating, pivotal moments. Spanning a period from the 1930s to the very end of his life, they provide intriguing snapshots of a career, of influences both musical and biographical. They are extrovert works, distinguished by the composer’s trademark rigour and ingenuity but also by a vitality and an engaging emotional directness. The outstanding Doric Quartet prefaces a new recording of the complete quartets with a weekend exploring the pieces’ background and influences. Joining them throughout the weekend are three guest instrumentalists: oboist Olivier Stankiewicz (20 Oct, 11am) and pianists Alice Chenyang Zu (19 Oct, 7.30pm & 20 Oct, 5.30pm) and Alasdair Beaston (19 Oct, 7.30pm & 21 Oct, 11am) as well as emerging chamber music ensembles from both sides of the Atlantic, in the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme’s ‘Transatlantic Encounters’ masterclass course.
Britten wrote his charming Three Divertimenti in 1936, five years before his first string quartet. This is set alongside Korngold’s richly romantic Piano Quintet and the European premiere of John Woolrich’s Quartet No. 2 Badinerie from A Book of Inventions, performed by the American Tesla Quartet (19 Oct, 7.30pm). Britten was bewitched by Purcell and his String Quartet No. 2 was written in homage to the composer 250 years after his death. It is heard in the second concert alongside Purcell’s Fantasias transcribed for string quartet (20 Oct, 11am). Britten’s last quartet was completed in the final year of his life and the Doric Quartet performs the work twice in the venue where it was premiered. The first time, the audience surrounds the quartet on the darkened stage of Snape Maltings Concert Hall and it is accompanied by an original short story by Henry James, often an inspiration for the composer. The story is adapted by playwright Robin Brooks into a short drama for two actors. The music is performed a second time after the interval (20 Oct, 9pm). The weekend rounds-off on Sunday 21 October with a performance of Britten’s String Quartet No. 1, paired with Elgar’s Piano Quintet (21 Oct, 11am).
BBC Radio 3 Big Chamber Weekend, Saturday 27 & Sunday 28 October 2018
Over the course of nearly 20 years, the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists scheme has given valuable concert and broadcasting experience to some of the world’s most brilliant and talented artists of the younger generation. This weekend centres on the music of Schubert, performed by current members of the scheme and some of their musical friends.
Passion: A week of opera at Snape Maltings, Tuesday 30 October – Saturday 3 November 2018
Opera has been a part of the musical landscape at Snape Maltings since the first Aldeburgh Festival 70 years ago: in this five-day period there are works from the Italian Renaissance to the present day, including visiting staged productions to brand new works-in-progress being developed onsite. The week begins with Dusapin’s dance opera Passion from Music Theatre Wales and National Dance Company Wales (30 Oct, 7.30pm). The English Touring Opera (ETO) presents Handel’s Radamisto (2 Nov, 7.30pm) and a triple bill of new productions: Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas by Seb Harcombe, Carissimi’s Jonas by Bernadette Iglich, and Jonathan Peter Kenny’s production of I Will Not Speak by prince-murderer-composer Carlo Gesualdo (3 Nov, 7.30pm). In the Spring 2019 ETO returns to perform three operas: Rossini’s Elisabetta (11 Apr, 7.30pm), Verdi’s Macbeth (12 Apr, 7.30pm) and Mozart’s Idomeneo 13 Apr, 7.30pm).
Christmas Weekend, Friday 21 – Sunday 23 December 2018
The Weekend begins with Handel’s rousing and uplifting Messiah, sung by Aldeburgh Voices, The Suffolk Ensemble, and soloists from the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme under the baton of Ben Parry. The following day Aldeburgh Voices and Ben Parry return to lead the audience in singing much-loved festive hits whilst folk singer Cara Dillon and her band capture the mystery of Christmas with ancient and contemporary songs. The Snowman has been essential seasonal viewing for nearly four decades; experience it on Snape Maltings’ big screen with live orchestral accompaniment.
Easter Weekend, Good Friday 19 – Saturday 20 April 2019
On Good Friday, the Idomeneo Quartet begins this Easter weekend with Thomas Adès’ The Four Quarters. It is paired with Beethoven’s String Quartet in A minor. Aldeburgh Voices and The Suffolk Ensemble perform Bach’s St John Passion, with James Gilchrist as the Evangelist. Tenebrae and Britten Sinfonia conducted by Nigel Short join forces with violinist Thomas Gould in in Fauré’s Requiem and music by Bach.
Development of Young Artists
The development of young artists has always been central to Snape Maltings’ vision and throughout the season visiting artists provide masterclasses for those on the Britten-Pears Young Artists Programme: from Tuesday 2 – Saturday 6 October 2018, pianist Roger Vignoles, vocal coach Susan Roberts and musicologist Richard Stokes take singers and pianists from the scheme through Wolf’s lieder. In the lead up to the Britten Weekend, musicians are taught by current and former members of world-class ensembles, to uncover the shared ideas and ideals of these two great teaching traditions. All participating ensembles perform in the Britten Weekend Friday 19- Sunday 21 October 2018.
This season’s Open Sessions include La Nuova Musica (Thursday 27 September 2018); Aldeburgh Young Musicians (26 Oct, 22 Feb, 12 Apr) ; Like Flesh (31 Oct); Unquiet (1 Dec);Richard Baker & Timberlake Wertenbaker (6 Dec); Bastard Assignments (8 Feb & 17 May); Perhaps Contraption (10 Feb & 25 May; Down the Rabbit Hole (16 March); A new Poly-Olbion (22 March); a recital from the European Network of Opera Academies (14 Apr).
Learning and Inclusion
This year’s Big Sing celebrates the UK-wide and international singing project Friday Afternoons on Friday 16 November 2018. It was originally conceived as the culmination of the worldwide 2013 centenary celebrations and takes its name from songs the composer Benjamin Britten wrote for his brother’s school to sing every Friday. Each year Friday Afternoons commissions a new set of songs, over time creating a significant resource of songs especially written for young people’s voices. Composer Errollyn Wallen has written this year’s new set, MAP: Songs for Children Everywhere, inspired by her international travels which was premiered in Hull in May. The year round national initiative returns home to Snape Maltings for its annual celebration when young people from schools across Suffolk come together to sing a selection of the 2018 songs, led by Charles MacDougall, accompanied by Wallen and supported by a team of artists.
Tickets: Online at www.snapemaltings.co.uk | Tel: 01728 687110