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St Endellion Easter Festival  4th to 12th April 2015

Well.  Without question one of the best and happiest Easter Festivals yet. Glorious weather from the first day, heralding glorious music-making in one of the great venues of the world!

We were privileged to have four wonderful conductors to lead us through the week, each with different inspirational gifts. James MacMillan, without doubt, cast his own special spell over  Durufle’s Requiem, preceded by two electrifying miniatures of his own, Sonny and O, and his sensitive accompaniment of our festival treasure, Andrew Watkinson, in the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto. Andrew himself inspired remarkable playing from the strings when he directed Handel, Elgar and Purcell in the midweek concert, before joining with his wife, Shuna Wilson (cello), to give a memorable baroque programme at lunchtime in St Kew Church – no-one present will ever forget  his performance of the Chaconne from Bach’s Partita in D Minor. Eamonn Dougan wove his own choral magic in Bach, Vaughan Williams and Britten, and Keith Slade gave us brilliant Mozart and Schoenberg, conducting the latter’s Verklärte Nachte from memory – no mean feat! Our youngest conductor, Oliver Tarney, directed the Choral Evensong and the Final Eucharist, in which the world premier of his own work, Faire is the Heaven, was heard – a piece that will definitely be heard again, and not just at St Endellion.

The Festival is really blessed with talent, and it is exciting to see a new tranche of young musicians now dominating the orchestra, chorus and solo line-up. Martin Gwilym-Jones worked tirelessly, masterminding two very special chamber concerts and leading the festival forces throughout  the week, and together with five great Thoughts for the Day, and late night gypsy jazz and Klezmer music, there was, hopefully, something to satisfy everyone.  To the outsider, it is a source of constant amazement that so many musicians should converge on North Cornwall and work so incredibly  hard for absolutely nothing, but the delight they derive from making music in such a place, within a unique spirit of friendship and co-operation, is an irresistible draw!

None of this creativity could happen without an equally hard working and happy support team, covering (for about 150 folk) food, accommodation, stage management, publicity, box office, printing, parties, child care, treasury, car parking, coffee making and many other roles that are crucial to a harmonious week. Heartfelt thanks to all those involved in creating that harmony, not least  to the Parish in their welcome and in their tolerance of our exuberant invasion!  Thank you, too, to Robert and Kate Sloman for hosting the Friends Party at their beautiful home, Roscarrock Manor.

We are thrilled that a new Rector has already been appointed, and we hugely look forward to meeting the Rev.Elizabeth Wild next spring, and wish her every joy in her ministry of the North Cornwall Cluster.

Watch this space for information regarding the 2016 Easter Festival.  Plans are well under way, with delicious programmes being crafted! Mark Padmore will give a candlelit recital of Schubert’s great song-cycle Winterreise,, the main choral and orchestral work will be the Mass in B Minor  by Bach and we are delighted that Rowan Williams (Archbishop of Canterbury 2002-2012), one of St Endellion’s greatest fans, will preach at the Final Eucharist.  I do hope these, and the other gems that will be announced towards the end of the year, will appeal, and that we can welcome you to another Easter feast!

43rd St Endellion Easter Festival - 26th March – 3rd April 2016

Fran Hickox

Festival Director

Read the the history of the St Endellion Easter Festival here