World Premières and a Panoply of English Music at 2014 English Music Festival

World premières and a panoply of English Music at 2014 English Music Festival – 23-26h May 2014

The eighth English Music Festival will be launched on Friday 23rd May, 2014, with a fanfare of orchestral music at Dorchester Abbey, Oxfordshire.  Conductor, Martin Yates, will lead the BBC Concert Orchestra in no fewer than four world premières: hitherto undiscovered works by Rutland Boughton – his symphonic poem Troilus and Cressida; Sir Arnold Bax’s impressive Variations for Orchestra; and lost landscapes by Ralph Vaughan Williams; Burley Heath and Harnham Down.

Also on the opening night, the fine British virtuoso, Rupert Marshall-Luck, will play the Violin Concerto by E.J.Moeran. The concert, to be broadcast on BBC Radio 3, will be preceded by the annual Festival lecture, which in this centenary year of the Great War will be devoted to the music and art of the years 1914-18.

Other Festival highlights include a recital by clarinettist, Robert Plane, who champions two important Bax works; a Sonata movement (another world première performance) and Romance, both dating from 1901; and – on the final night – an appearance by the Orchestra of St. Paul’s, conducted by Ben Palmer.  Dyson’s Concerto da Camera and the magnificent and rarely-played Music for Strings by Sir Arthur Bliss provide the mainstay of the programme.

The City of London Choir and Holst Orchestra also make an uplifting contribution, in the form of Finzi’s moving and intense Requiem da Camera, alongside Butterworth’s profoundly beautiful setting of A.E. Housman’s Loveliest of trees.  Meanwhile, a contemporary flavour is provided by composer John Pickard, when his Quartet No. 5 receives a performance, sharing a concert with Vaughan Williams’ Quartet No. 1.

The BBC Elstree Concert Band will make a star appearance in what promises to be a rousing evening; with Malcolm Arnold’s English Dances, Eric Coates’s London Suite, thrilling music from the classic film Things to Come by Bliss, and ending with the subtle shades of a work entitled Dusk by a less familiar name, Armstrong Gibbs. A major new biography of this composer, written by Angela Aries with contributions from Lewis Foreman, will be launched during the Festival week at a special seminar, organised by EM Publishing, the literary arm of the Festival.

The Festival’s founder, Em Marshall-Luck, commented: “Our 2014 concerts provide a panoply of rare, unusual and previously undiscovered music.  Our first-night conductor, Martin Yates, is undertaking what is probably one of the most remarkable concerts of the entire year, with world premières by Bax and Vaughan Williams.  This is the equivalent of the National Gallery or Tate Britain finding new paintings by Constable and Turner.  And I am also pleased to say that we haven’t neglected the lighter side of our musical tradition, and will be welcoming back the wonderful New Foxtrot Serenaders who, last year, provided us with such entertainment and delight, while the BBC Elstree Band will be making their EMF debut – ensuring there is something for everyone in our exciting and varied programme.”

A number of informative talks complete the programme.  A convenient mini-bus transfer is available to/from Didcot station, Dorchester-on-Thames and other Festival venues.  For further information and to see the full programme, visit:  Tickets go on sale from 15th March via the Website, and will also be for sale on the door, subject to availability.