Tag Archives: two moors

Two Moors Festival: Day 6

Guy Johnston in Tiverton Parkway

Over halfway through this year’s Two Moors Festival and it really has been very eventful indeed! We’ve heard some amazing classical music, travelled all over the countryside, dealt with ill musicians, handled burnt-out clutches, eaten and drunk a LOT and had a lot of fun!

Today, one of our favourite series of the event this year continued – A Season Ticket for Bach, with Guy Johnston replacing Tai Murray as the artist in situ at Tiverton Parkway railway station. We had a bit of a 30-second heart attack when Guy thought he was playing Bach’s Eb suite instead of the suite in G (and how grateful he was when we told him this wasn’t the case!), but the concert went brilliantly and everyone had a great time.

One hardy couple came up to Tiverton on the train from Exeter just to hear him play and Guy finished just in time to catch the 12:09 back to London! These train station concerts really are such fun, we’re so glad we were mad enough to do it. The station staff are having a fantastic time and everyone’s being very generous when charity boxes are handed around – passengers as well as concert-goers!

Check back on the blog tomorrow to find out how day seven went!

Two Moors Festival: Day 4

What a day! After all the horrible rain at the start of the week (when we thought we might actually be washed away), we were very concerned that the Two Moors Festival Walk on the Wildside trip up to Hay Tor in Dartmoor would have to be cancelled, which would have been a great shame as we were all so looking forward to hiking up the hills accompanied by Harry Winstanley on the flute and strummer Ashley Myall.

As luck would have it, the day dawned and it was absolutely glorious weather – a fact that certainly didn’t escape our concert-goers, as 170 people turned up to go on the walk… including one very plucky 90-year-old! We really couldn’t have asked for nicer weather for our one outdoor event and what made it even better was that we could see a storm brewing the entire time we were walking but it never quite reached us. Laughing in the face of rain!

Later in the day, we found ourselves in St Pancras’s Church in Widecombe-in-the-Moor for Come Into the Parlour, a concert celebrating Charles Dickens with Donald Maxwell, Anna Tilbrook and Marcus Farnsworth. In all, 54 people came along for the evening concert and, we’re pleased to report, had an absolutely brilliant time.

Roll on the rest of the festival!

Two Moors Festival: Day 3

Time certainly does fly here at the Two Moors Festival – we can’t believe it’s day three of the event already. So much has happened so far and we’ve heard some truly amazing and inspiring music… the 2012 festival really is shaping up to be one of the best ever.

One of our favourite programme listings each year is the Young Musicians Platform Competition Winners concert and today, the four people who came out on top really didn’t disappoint. From Jacob Warn’s incredible recorder-playing to Lucy Bray singing her heart out, we really couldn’t have asked any more of them – and are so pleased with how they represented the south-west and the multitude of young musicians this part of the UK has to offer.

If you’re keen to take part in next year’s competition, make sure you keep an eye on our website and the blog as well so you don’t miss any key announcements.

It has certainly been a very manic three days and there are another seven to come. From rushing around Ashburton, we’ll be off to Dartmoor and Widecombe-in-the-moor tomorrow – check back on the blog to see how it all went!

Two Moors Festival: Day 2

Well, what a busy day we’ve had here on the second day of the Two Moors Festival. We’ve been rushing around Dunster for today’s concerts, which consisted of a talk at the Yarn Market Hotel by Alan Caig on the topic of Exeter’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum – focusing on the major redevelopment the gallery recently underwent.

This was then followed by the festival’s own ensemble playing a rousing programme of Dvorak and Beethoven at the town’s St Georges Church at lunchtime, which was a really lovely concert and thoroughly enjoyed by all involved.

The evening concert, in Tithe Barn, was one of our favourites of all on the billing this year – A Right Royal Revelry, inspired by royal anniversaries. Aside from all the fantastic music played by Frances Norbury, Daniel Edgar, Nia Lewis, Malgosia Ziemkiewicz, Tim Smedley and Christopher Bucknall, there was also the chance for audience members to have a bash at doing some of the dance steps of the period – which really was great fun.

Here are a couple of snaps of people practising their steps:

Of course, it wouldn’t be the festival if there weren’t a few problems that crop up daily – all the rain on the first day was lots of fun (although, this being Devon, not entirely unprecedented!) and we’re all very worried about pianist Ashley Wass who’s really very poorly and who may not be able to play at the Pied Piper of Hamlyn concert on the 15th. That’s all part and parcel of running a music festival, though… you just have to roll with the punches!

Who went to today’s concerts? Weren’t they a lot of fun?

Two Moors Festival: Day 1

At last, the moment we’ve been waiting for all year is here – the first day of the Two Moors Festival October event. And of course, the setting being Devon, it has absolutely tipped it down! We were seriously considering building an ark and sailing to all the churches for the concerts that took place yesterday.

Just take a look at our garden!

Picture the scene: it’s three hours before the first concert (The Brodsky Quartet playing a programme of Purcell, Britten and Elgar at All Saints’ Church in Dulverton) and John and Penny Adie – organisers of the festival – are somewhat preoccupied by a flooded storm drain, with water threatening to spill over into the house. Brilliant. Sadly, the downpour meant that some concert-goers were unable to make it to the event – made all the more sad by the fact that the night was so very good.

The Brodsky Quartet were on amazing form and, even with the few who couldn’t get to the church because of the rain, there were over 200 people there, so the church was very nearly full and we had a lovely little party afterwards with about 30 audience members, lots of fine wine and some delicious nibbles made by Frances Chanter.

Rain notwithstanding, it really was a brilliant start to the Two Moors Festival and we can’t wait to see what the rest of the ten days holds. Here’s hoping we don’t get washed away overnight!

Did you make it to the Brodsky concert? What did you think?

A Two Moors welcome to the Military Wives Choir

You may have heard of the Military Wives Choir. They shot to fame in 2011 by pitting their sensational voices against the winners of The X Factor, Little Mix, and claiming the Christmas number one spot with their single, Wherever You Are.

Fast forward a few months and they were signed up to be part of Gary Barlow’s Commonwealth group of musicians from around the world, gearing up to perform Sing at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in front of Buckingham Palace in June this year.

So you can imagine how very excited we are here at the Two Moors Festival to welcome the Military Wives down to Devon to perform a beautiful programme at St Eustachius’s Church in Tavistock on October 18th. This fundraising concert will see donations split between the Royal British Legion, the SSAFA and the Two Moors Festival, so you’ll not only get to listen to some amazing music but also help raise money for some truly excellent causes.

The programme itself consists of Bach’s Toccata and Fuge, Whitacre’s Seal Lullaby, Dykes’ Eternal Father, Mealor’s Wherever You Are, Alren’s Over the Rainbow and Arnold’s Quintet for Brass among others, with the Choir accompanied by the Qintessence Brass Ensemble.

Concert information

Military Wives Choir, St Eustachius’s Church, Tavistock, October 18th, 19:30.

Tickets: £20 minimum donation for reserved seating, £10 minimum donation for unreserved seating.

Images of Majesty with the Two Moors Festival

The Two Moors Festival isn’t just about classical music and delightful English countryside. As well as lots of brilliant musicians and amazing concerts taking place during our main two-week event in October, we also host a series of very interesting and educational talks on all manner of topics and this year’s festival is certainly no different.

In keeping with our theme this year of anniversaries, we’ve enlisted the services of Richard Kay – a lecturer for the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies and Sotheby’s Institute of Art, who specialises in portraiture – to give a talk focusing on royal portraiture, covering 500 years of royal portraits from Henry VIII to Elizabeth II.

To celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, Richard complied a survey on this subject, assessing how monarchs over the years have elected to be depicted, just why so much can be learned from these intriguing paintings and how kings and queens’ personalities have been reflected.

This event – taking place in St John’s Church in Witheridge on October 17th – promises to be one of the most interesting on the Two Moors festival calendar this year and you really should try not to miss it!

Concert information

Images of Majesty, October 17th, St John’s Church, Witheridge, 16:30

Tickets: Free entry by ticket only. Collection in aid of Smile Train UK and the festival’s education projects.

Call (01643) 831 006 to book.

A quick Two Moors Festival catch-up

We’ve caught up with Two Moors Festival artistic director Penny Adie to find out how it’s all going, with just ten days until the festival gets underway.

2MF: There’s just over one week to go before the festival kicks off. What’s left to be done?

PA: Lots. We’re now focusing on loads of PR and advertising.  We will also have to deal with proof-reading the programme. Liz Pile is going flat out with on the ground arrangements for the artists and volunteers. Accommodation, transport from/to station; schedule for piano tuning (Colin Webber) and piano movers (Britannia Lanes) all need sorting out. Liz will also deal with text translations for any songs, Das Lied von der Erde for instance and the final recital.

2MF: How have preparations gone so far? Have there been any panicky moments when you thought it wouldn’t all come off?

PA: There are always difficult moments when you realise that something vital has been omitted. It’s allways tricky when an artist changes transport arrangements at the last minute. Also, from my point of view, when an artist is ill. Once a singer had completely lost his voice andI had to find a replacement at less than 24 hours notice. It’s not easy with specialised repertoire.

2MF: What goes into putting on a music festival? Do people have any idea what it actually takes?

PA: People have no idea what goes on. A keen supporter rang once saying he had been to a concert where he saw a fine singer and thought he would be good for the festival as all artists come for nothing. We hastily put him in the picture that artists’ fees are £50,000. Many during the actual festival say, “once it’s over, you can put your feet up for the next ten months”. This happens all the time.

2MF: Any organisational disasters or has it all be plain sailing this time?

PA: Money is always a problem. It’s nail-biting when you’ve no idea if you’re going to break even. There have been little things but nothing major – so far. I suppose the tricky one is finding sufficient volunteers to man both the cathedral concert as well as the BBC live broadcast on the same night.

2MF: What will the next ten days be like for you and John?

PA: Hellishly busy. John is processing tickets, galore and dealing with the many brochure requests from Classic FM – the response has been fantastic.  I am dealing with the layout of the programme and press releases and getting them interested. It’s hard work. Regional press and radio are always interested. BBC Radio 3 are interviewing Anna Tilbrook and Marcus Farnsworth on October 3rd. They will be doing some Parlour Songs relating to the concert on the 14th. I’m also working on BBC Spotlight for the Tiverton Parkway concerts.

2MF: Will this be the best festival yet?

PA: Ticket sales are well up on last year, which is great. We’re almost at last year’s total already. Fanfares on the 10th at lunchtime), the four harps on the 20th, all Tiverton Parkway dates and John Williams on the 20th have sold out. The first and last night are going well, as is the piano recital on the 19th. There are still plenty of tickets for the Cathedral and the Military Wives evenings.

2MF: What are you most looking forward to on the programme this year?

PA: The piano recital but then that’s my favourite instrument and I just love to hear the Boesendorfer played properly.

2MF: What do you love most about running a music festival?

PA: Its an opportunity to be as creative as possible. The trouble is that ideas wake me up at 3am. I have the nice job. Poor John has to find the money to pay for it.Here’s a good example of a creative idea coming up – I was asked by one of the Busch Ensemble (as we walked into the station to catch their train) how I hit on the idea for the Bach concerts. It’s quite simple, as I heard the lovely acoustics made by people trundling their suitcases over the floor tiles.

2MF: What can we expect next year?

PA: It’s a secret!

Two Moors Festival brochures over the years

The Two Moors Festival’s been going for 12 years now (gulp!) – 12 years of amazing concerts, 12 years of fun and hard work in equal measure and 12 years of stunning brochures.

Here’s how our brochures have changed from 2001 to now, when we brought out our first-ever colour copy. Don’t forget to vote for your favourite!



BBC Radio 3 Live in Concert

You may have heard that, as part of its Piano Season, BBC Radio 3 is bringing its Live in Concert series down to Devon in collaboration with us, the Two Moors Festival, with a performance of Robin Holloway’s Gilded Goldbergs, a re-composition for two pianos after JS Bach.

While we’re obviously very excited to be working with the BBC to bring this fantastic concert – with pianists Ashley Wass and Huw Watkins at the helm – to St John the Baptist church in Hatherleigh on October 15th, there’s also an abundance of other brilliant performances taking place around the UK in the lead-up to the October event that you also need to make sure you hear.

Over the coming week, there are eight broadcasts from venues up and down the country. On Monday (September 24th), husband and wife team Pascal and Ami Roge will play Debussy and Poulenc at Wyastone Leys in the Wye Valley, while on Tuesday The Sixteen’s Choral Pilgrimage 2012 continues live from Ealing Abbey in London, with a programme focusing on Brumel’s The Earthquake Mass.

Wednesday sees the London Philharmonic Orchestra put Strauss’s Die Fraue ohne Schatten through its paces at the Royal Festival Hall in London and on Thursday, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra will play Rachmaninov and Wagner live from City Halls in Glasgow.

The week is rounded off at the Sage Gateshead with the Northern Sinfonia playing Brahms and Schumann. There really is some serious music-making going on this week and we fully expect to be glued to our radios for the foreseeable future!

Don’t worry if you miss a performance here or there, either. You can catch up with all the Live in Concert programmes on BBC iPlayer, where they stay on the site for a week after the initial broadcast.

What are you looking forward to hearing this Piano Season?