Gregynog Festival 2013: Great Britten
Gregynog, the oldest classical music festival in Wales, is curated annually on a theme drawn from its unique heritage. Gregynog Festival 2012: Venezia took Venice as its starting point to mark one hundred years since Gwendoline and Margaret Davies, the founders of the Festival, began purchasing their paintings of the city by Monet, Boudin, Whistler and Sickert, and the 2013 programme is inspired by the centenary of Benjamin Britten who performed at the 1972 Gregynog Festival with Peter Pears and Osian Ellis.
Gregynog Festival 2013: Great Britten has been arranged in broad chronological order of repertoire to reflect the practice at Gregynog during the 1930s and highlight the 80th anniversary of the Festival - Wales' oldest extant classical music festival - this season. The first weekend of the Festival celebrated the music of Purcell, Dowland and their contemporaries and their influence upon Britten. Later concerts highlighted Britten's teachers, friends and collaborators, including Frank Bridge, Grace Williams, Wystan Auden, Aaron Copland and Mstislav Rostropovich.
Festival events also marked one hundred years since the birth of the poet R. S. Thomas, who was Rector of Manafon, near Gregynog, and the first public exhibition of Gwendoline and Margaret Davies' paintings which was held in Cardiff City Hall in 1913.
The world-renowned Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the Ricercar Consort of viols from Belgium and Harmonie Universelle from Germany all made Festival debuts. Outstanding soloists included Iestyn Davies, Andrew Kennedy, Catrin Finch, Guy Johnston and Nicholas Daniel and we welcomed a superb choral ensemble on each of our two weekends, The Tallis Scholars and Tenebrae.
The season concludes with a Gala recital in Cardiff by Llŷr Williams on the centenary of Britten's birth - 22 November 2013.