Thaxted Festival 2019 got off to a flying start in its first weekend with a stand-out concert by Brandenburg Sinfonia, great swinging Jazz from the Emma Johnson Trio, and the perfection of the English choral repertoire from Christ’s College Cambridge Choir. With the weather kind on warm summer evenings, there was a definite buzz in the air and much appreciation from our audiences for these fine performances.
We like to think that variety is the essence of Thaxted Festival. In our second weekend we enjoyed the exotic rhythms of Latin American music with Classico Latino, superb playing from Tom Poster and the Brandenburg Sinfonia with Schumann’s piano concerto, and the exuberance of Martin James Bartlett’s solo piano.
The third weekend brought the precision and expression of London Handel Players to Handel, Bach and Vivaldi, a wide-ranging tour of Europe on Thaxted’s historic Lincoln Organ by Riccardo Bonci, cool jazz from the Jonathan Vinten Trio with Julian Marc Stringle, and a roof-raising finale from Ronnie Scott’s Blues Explosion!
Our final weekend opened with French trumpeter Romain Leleu, just off the plane from Miami, with his Ensemble Convergences string quintet. From Baroque to Bernstein, the playing was superb. Folk was provided by the eclectic Dodo Street Band on the second evening, who drove us on through Klezmer, the Hebrides, gypsy rhythms and more, while the Festival was brought to a triumphant close with a programme of Russian sacred choral music by the peerless Tenebrae.
Reactions from our audiences during and after the season showed how much they enjoyed the diversity of our programming, and the quality of each performance. Along with ideal summer weather every evening, our renowned home-made cakes, and refreshments ranging from tea and coffee to stronger offerings, they have told us how much they appreciated the friendly and welcoming atmosphere, and the personal touch our volunteers bring to our annual offering.
As well as our public events, Thaxted Festival held two very successful education projects during the season, led by Brandenburg Sinfonia players. These were held at Henham and Ugley Primary School, and the Joyce Frankland Academy in Newport, Essex. Parents, teachers and pupils have told us how much they enjoyed these, and how valuable they have been in the development of musical skills and understanding, as well as linking with other work in the curriculum. These projects are a firm feature of the Festival, and we are proud to offer them every year. We are very grateful to Uttlesford District Council for their support of this work in 2019.
We thank all our audiences, our sponsors, our funding bodies, our volunteers and our artists for making our 2019 season such a success, and look forward to seeing you at our Autumn Event, as well as at our 2020 season.
Chairman, Thaxted Festival Foundation
Registered Charity 296329
Below: Brandenburg Sinfonia; audience participation in Brandenburg's encore (Morricone's 'Gabriel's Oboe'); Julian Marc Stringle with Jonathan Vinten trio; Romain Leleu and Ensemble Convergences; Marcus Bonfanti and Tony Remy with Ronnie Scott's Blues Explosion!