LEICESTER INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL 2013
Welcome to A Voyage around Britten
Nicholas Daniel : Artistic Director
My first experience of Benjamin Britten's Music was when I was a chorister at Salisbury Cathedral. Not knowing anything about music at all, I discovered that whenever we performed music by this one man, hairs stood up on my arms and the back of my neck like they didn't for any other composer, not Palestrina, not Messiaen. My response to his music was pure gut instinct, visceral and also cerebral. The perfection of it was mathematically obvious to me, even being entirely ignorant of maths and useless at the subject. Around the same time a music teacher at school played us a recording of the War Requiem and with Vishnevskaya's Lacrymosa I was lost to Britten forever.
This Festival is a homage to him not only as composer, but as performer and inspirer of generations of performers and composers, and as the musical grandfather of a great new renaissance of British composers, of whom Helen Grime and Huw Watkins, our joint composers in residence, are the latest flowering.
I have not only programmed works by Britten, Grime and Watkins, but I have bathed these works in pieces by composers Britten loved and recorded. These include Mozart, Schumann, Schubert, Bach, Frank Bridge, Ravel, Debussy and his friends Poulenc and Shostakovich.
I am delighted that, once again, the Festival is collaborating with Phoenix Cinema. Indeed, the first Event of the Festival is a screening of Tony Palmer’s excellent biography of Benjamin Britten - ‘A Time There Was’. It’s fascinating to be able to see and hear from Britten’s family and friends and fellow artists and the man himself. Tony Palmer has made many significant films about composers and artists and it is an even greater pleasure that he will be at the Phoenix Cinema to introduce the film.
It is an honour for me to dedicate our 2013 Festival to one of Britain’s greatest musicians in his 100th Anniversary year. Also 100 this year is Leicester jewellers, Tarratt, who have chosen to support the 2013 Festival by becoming a Principal Sponsor as part of their Anniversary celebrations. We shall celebrate with them at The Tarratt Centenary Concert on Friday Lunchtime. By the way, Babar the Elephant is 80 this year!
I look forward greatly to seeing you all in September, the 25th Anniversary of the Festival.
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