Brilliant Norwich Festival

Norwich skyline

A fun game is fantasy music festivals. The rules are simple, plan your own festival with your dream performers.

Mine would be something like this....

Open it with the Hilliard Ensemble and saxophonist Jan Garbarek (see improvisation) in a great English cathedral, followed by late night Bach for solo violin in a classic 15th century merchant church in the heart of a medieval city.

Jacques Loussier trio

Them more Bach with classic jazz pianist Jaques Loussier in the same church. Bliss would be to follow it with the Tallis Scholars singing Tallis and (oh joy) Sheppard back in the cathedral. Keep the 20th century in view with Steven Osborne playing the complete Tippett Piano Sonatas. Add Andrew Manze and Richard Egarr making music in an intimate medieval music room, and also Carole Cesare playing Scarlatti and (more joy) Soler on the harpsichord.

Sprinkle some 'envelope stretching' in the form of a multi-media tribute to Hildegard of Bingen including a light show (shades of my 60's student union pop extravaganzas with the likes of the Moody Blues - that link is to prove this site isn't totally polyphony fixated), and round it off by completing the journey through the Bach solo violin Partitas and Sonatas in the Merchant Church.

Of course that kind of fantasy programme is an unachievable dream. Only it isn't, every one of those events (and many more) is in the programme for the 2005 Norfolk and Norwich Festival which runs from 4th to 15th May. It's all happening just twenty minutes from our home, and I have the tickets (and credit card bill) in front of me to prove it.

If your musical tastes are like mine (and if you read On An Overgrown Path they must be) click over to the Norwich Festival web site and book now (if you're not in the US!), it should be unmissable. I'll be posting brief reports on most of these events On An Overgrown Path over the next few weeks, but first it is the Monteverdi Vespers of 1610 performed by the Cambridge University Chamber Choir in the Chapel of St John's College next Saturday - oh the joy of being music lovers and living within driving distance of Cambridge!

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