THE 2019 PROGRAMME for Brighton Early Music Festival is all about change and changing times. Taking ‘Metamorphosis’ as its theme, the Festival, which focuses on music written before 1800, presents 35 events in 11 different venues across Brighton, Hove and beyond this autumn and winter. All the venues are easily accessible to West Hill residents either on foot or by bus.
The main festival is preceded by a number of community events. The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment returns with one of their popular concerts for 2-5 year olds, ‘The Musical Forest – A Bug’s Ear View’ on 12 Oct. On the same day there is an interactive concert for 5-12 year olds and their families ‘Perseus, Andromeda and the Sea-monster’. There will also be a community Ceilidh with live Scottish baroque music on 5 Oct.
Highlights of the main festival include two staged works, ‘Burying the Dead’, a music theatre piece capturing 17th century London as seen through the eyes of Henry Purcell (31 Oct); and a new play with music exploring the life of celebrated Venetian woman composer Barbara Strozzi (1 Nov). Another highlight will be a day (3 Nov) exploring the music of JS Bach performed in different ways – an hour-long afternoon concert including his famous piece ‘A Musical Offering’; an early evening concert of his works dynamically re-coloured on synthesizers in ‘The Art of Moog’ and an informal late evening session by a jazz trio improvising on famous baroque ground basses.
Other events include choral and instrumental music ranging from the medieval to late baroque, culminating in a performance of the medieval Feast of Fools (10 Nov), featuring top professional players alongside street dance community performers and children from Brighton & Hove schools.
For those who prefer to attend daytime events, there are several on offer in the centre of the city: St Paul’s Church, West Street hosts lunchtime concerts from up-and-coming artists Dramma per Musica (26 Oct) and Improviso (9 Nov) and the festival’s ever-popular afternoon concert featuring four ensembles of young performers at the beginning of their professional careers (2 Nov).