In this year's festival we ran a full week of evening concerts alongside an exhibition of artwork that included three talented newcomers Emma Burns, from Future British Artists at the Mall
Galleries, 22 year old Iranian artist Kimia Pishdadian and gilder and carver Cassadie Alder, a graduate of the City and Guilds of London Art School. Emma's flock of sheep stood in the baptistry in a
green pasture created by Katie from grass matting with shrubs and flowers from our garden, The sheep were made from mixed materials including cardboard, tinfoil, cling film, duct tape and wool and
were an instant hit with visitors with only the ram remaining unsold at the end of the week. Cassadie Alder created original carving for the exhibition including frames with gilded mirror edging and
a miniature wall stand. Kimia's flower and woodland scenes (she called them nature miniatures) were coupled with a pair of drypoint still life drawings. They were flanked by watercolours by Sidney
Cardew, RSMA, a senior and much loved figure in the art world. His pictures of the lower reaches of the Thames included the busy harbour at Rochester and a French scene, possibly Hornfleur.
Christopher Miers lives locally in Fulham. His painting of Kensington Gardens broadwalk was featured on the front of the festival brochure, one of his thirty small watercolors of local scenes. Katie
and I travelled to Clun in Shropshire to pick up fourteen pictures by Keith Noble, RSMA. His palette ranged geographically from the glistening beaches of Cornwall to town and gown and the river
The Clergy added their own ornate collection of ecclesiastical vesture shown on a further screen. The school art exhibition attracted much attention at the Private View with pupils and parents viewing the children’s artwork inspired by The Sound of Music. Janet Q. Treloar adjudicated the five entries including Best Picture which went to Falkner House Girls School and Best Presentation to St Nicholas Preparatory School. Janet awarded additional prizes as well in a close run competition. In conclusion she picked up her guitar for a chorus of Do-Re-Mi.
On a more meditative note, Canon Robin Murch, a retired clergyman and folk artist from Dawlish, mounted his extraordinary canvases on easels in various stations, in aid of Christian Aid. Two of them called for special mention, A Mother and Child haunted from hunger in an African famine and Woodbine Willie, Canon Robin's tribute to 'Woodbine Willie' the nickname for The Rev. Suddert Kennedy MC, a clergyman who saw fighting on the Somme a century ago, where he offered succour and cigarettes to his fellow comrades in arms.
There were five evening concerts this year, the first of them marking the return of the concert pianist, Peter O'Hagan, who has just completed two books on the French modernist Pierre Boulez that are due out in the autumn. In this recital he played The French Suite No 5 in G by J S Bach, Beethoven's Piano Sonata opus 78 and some contrasting pieces by Liszt, his Six Consolations and a paraphrase on Verdi's Rigoletto. Peter's programme was thought through with characteristic insight and played without a break, the music woven into a seamless whole. His finale, the Liszt Rigoletto paraphase, was the talk of the festival bar, a stunningly executed take on an operatic masterpiece that was akin to a psychedelic trip, (Liszt was known to have taken opium and quinine).
On Wednesday night the early music group Istante was no less committed in its programme, Italians Across the Alps. Each player was a star in their own right and duly had a Sonata to perform. Theatrical airs bookended their recital that was imbued with their characteristic spirit of inquisitiveness and historical awareness. On Thursday the guitar duo of Julian Vickers and Daniel Bovey picked their programme from the early nineteenth century to the present day. A Concertino by Nikita Koshkin caught the attention of the audience with its haunting atmosphere, whilst Ravel's Pavane was typical of this duo's unanimity of thought and ability to conjure up a musical picture pertinent to the environment of each piece.
Imperial Choir and the ULSO (University of London Symphony Orchestra) were well supported by good houses, the choir offering a short but sincerely sung programme of choral classics from Purcell to Chilcott whilst the ULSO were joined by their former leader Tom Aldren for a beautifully played shaped account of the Violin Concerto by Stravinsky, the soloist and orchestra breathing as one. Daniel Capps, the conductor, drew cheers for his performance of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, played as though it was written yesterday.
The lunchtime organ recital this year was given by Domenico Gioffre, organ scholar at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street, Mayfair, with the the Royal College of Music offering a varied group of concerts on other days - notably baritone Julian van Mellaerts in Schumann and some English song (his Now Sleeps the Crimson Pettle by Quilter was exquisite), Piotr Dec on clarinet and Timothee Botboi, cello. Due to unforeseen circumstances the Chaconen Ensemble's attractive looking Monteverdi programme was pulled and replaced by music from two very different figures - Hindemith and Rubbra with Lowri Thomas as the fine viola player. Gregory Drott and his choir - with orchestra - sang the Coronation Mass by Mozart at the concluding Festival Mass as well as bringing us some reminders of the Queen's coronation music from 1953 still resonating today in her ninetieth year.
Father Bushau expressed his sincere thanks to Father John and to all concerned who had done their duty supporting us during this festival of whom we'd like to make mention of Mark Hodgin, the Verger, and Ross Egerton, Church Warden.