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Welsh Roundup Rian Evans at Presteigne and Glamorgan othing much happening at this time of nor the direction to be fully that seemed to achieve the ‘N the year”, assume those for whom concert-going is dictated by the seasons which engaging. Part of the charm of Prest- greater sense of completeness. If John Metcalf ’s Vale of increasingly run from October to May, or June eigne lies in what one might Glamorgan festival was a more if you’re lucky. But in Wales there are two describe as the “composers’ contained affair than in prev- festivals – the Vale of Glamorgan and Prest- parley” element: the official ious years, it had not lost the eigne, each a shining beacon for championing pre-concert discussions – enlight- sharp focus that has made it contemporary music – which take one from ening in an amusing and mis- such a definitive element in the August into September and demand attendance. chievous rather than overly musical life of Wales. This year This year, Presteigne featured Joe Duddell erudite way – continue inform- Arvo Pärt highlighted the music of Polish as its composer-in-residence, with Duddell ally during the interval and composers, with the concert accumulating a loyal following by the final then post-concert and it adds given by the Silesian Quartet concert, a mission accomplished for its tireless to a feeling that composers, performers and on 7 September at St Mary’s Church, Nolton, director, George Vass. In the opening concert, audience are part of a warm and easy con- particularly memorable for their playing of the on 21 August at St Andrew’s Church, Colin tinuum. That was very much the atmosphere second quartet of Penderecki. Wales was Currie’s performance of Duddell’s percussion of the closing concert of the festival on 26 represented in the festival in works by Guto concerto, Snowblind, held the audience spell- August, where George Vass’s work with the Puw – David Cowley was the soloist in his bound. By confining himself to using tuned Presteigne Festival Orchestra also culminated Oboe concerto – Hilary Tann and John Metcalf percussion – marimba, vibraphone, crotales in a carefully judged performance of Britten’s himself, while Estonia was represented by Vox and temple blocks – Duddell’s emphasis is less Sinfonietta, Op 1. Finzi’s Dies Natalis sets the Clamantis. This brilliant chorale featured the on rhythm than on melody and harmony, words of the metaphysical poet Thomas startlingly original soundscape of composer unusual in percussion works. He created a Traherne so closely associated with Hereford- Helena Tulve, most notably in the piece silence/ definite aura of intimacy with the instruments, shire, just the other side of the border. This larmes in which the soloist was the Catalan and the poise with which Currie judged the performance featured the soprano Gillian soprano Arianna Savall with the composer effects of timbre and tone had its own mag- Keith and, although there were moments herself creating
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