Chipping Campden Festival 2013 Preview

November 21, 2012

United KingdomUnited Kingdom  Plenty to Look Forward to at the 2013 Chipping Campden Festival (RJ)

The sky is leaden and it’s pouring with rain. Am I depressed? Definitely not, for I’m currently perusing the brochure of the Chipping Campden International Music Festival 2013 – the epithet “international” is fully deserved – and dreaming of the spring.

The Festival runs from May 5th until the 18th, and its opening concert features Baroque music played by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment directed by Steven Devine. Welsh soprano Elin Manahan Thomas and counter tenor Owen Willetts join them for vocal music by Handel and Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater.

I Fagiolini will be riding into town on May 12th  to perform the 1612 Italian Vespers by Monteverdi, Viadana, Bassano and Gabriela in the excellent acoustic of St James’ Church;  and on the following evening Mark Padmore performs songs by Beethoven, Schumann and Britten with pianist Julius Drake.

The evening of 7th is devoted to Bach starting with an organ recital by John Scott Whiteley, organist emeritus of York Minster.  Later lutenist Hopkinson Smith plays two of the composer’s cello suites – not on the cello or lute, but on the German theorbo which “has more resonance and is closer to the poetic world of the cello” according to the brochure.

Music by Debussy, Ravel, Britten and Huw Watkins features in the Britten Sinfonia Soloists’ concert on 8th, while the superb Takacs Quartet appear the following evening to play Britten’s Third Quartet sandwiched between Schubert and Beethoven. On the 10th recent BBC New Generation Artists the Atos Piano Trio from Germany will play Beethoven and Schubert.

There will be more Schubert from Paul Lewis, the Festival’s President, on 15th – the composer’s final three sonatas, to be precise. But he is not the only pianist to appear in the Festival: on 11th he brilliant young Alexandra Dariescu will be playing Beethoven, Scarlatti, Schumann and all 24 of Chopin’s Preludes in her lunchtime concert; andSteven Osborne plays Messiaen’s Vingt regards sur l’enfant- Jésus in the evening. Of especial interest will be the recital by Elisabeth Leonskaja who will perform works by Ravel. Enescu, Debussy and Brahms.

I’m glad to see that the terrific Chipping Campden Festival Academy will be back conducted by Thomas Hull and led by Ruth Rogers.  Mark Padmore will be performing Britten’s Serenade for tenor, horn and strings with them on 14th, while Jack Liebeck joins them on 16th to play the Sibelius Violin Concerto. The grand finale will be a second appearance by Paul Lewis playing Brahms Piano Concerto No 1.

As usual the Festival will be organising a series of weekday lunchtime concerts showcasing up and coming young musicians for just £5 an event (£3.50 if booked in advance). Young, impecunious concertgoers are particularly welcome: a student pays nothing for a lunchtime concert and only £1 to attend an evening concert. I doubt if any other festival in the UK can beat such a generous deal.

If Opera-goers start to complain that Chipping Campden is ignoring Wagner is this his bicentenary year, they should pipe down and wait until June 16th. Then they will be able to wallow in their favourite composer just a few miles away at Longborough Festival Opera’s production of Wagner’s Ring – the only UK opera house to perform it in 2013. I’m told that tickets are selling like hot cakes for all three cycles.

Full details of these festivals are available from and


Roger Jones


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