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September 2nd, 2020
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Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival unites art, history and music in the company of Lord Salisbury and family in their historic home.

Four concerts will be premiered free on the Festival’s YouTube channel
Fridays 11, 18, 25 September & 2 October 2020, 7:00pm

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The 9th annual Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival will unite art, history and music in four chamber concerts to be made available as free online broadcasts this September. Filming of the concerts took place in front of a private family audience in Lord Salisbury’s historic home, Hatfield House, in late July 2020. The concerts will premiere on the Festival’s YouTube channel on Friday evenings during September.

Artistic Director Guy Johnston has devised a stimulating programme spanning 400 years from John Dowland, who appears in the House’s archives, to Puccini and Quilter. Each concert offers a rich cultural feast with programmes augmented by exclusive interviews with the artists, curators, historians, and the Salisbury family who have owned Hatfield House since 1607, in conversation with Dr Emily Burns. The repertoire for each concert is introduced by Stephen Johnson.

While maintaining local support, filming opens the Festival up to a new audience worldwide for a truly unique experience, going behind the scenes at one of Britain’s most celebrated historic houses, the childhood home of Elizabeth I.

Guy Johnston commented:
“After three marvellous and moving days of filming in the historic spaces of Hatfield House, we are thrilled to be releasing four concerts online this September. Turning the Festival into a family affair, we are giving audiences the opportunity to go behind the scenes with Lord Salisbury, who introduces Hatfield House’s historic features with art historian Dr Emily Burns. I am also delighted to welcome many musicians who have become firm favourites at the Festival. Rather than abandoning this year’s Festival, we felt it was so important to keep musicians seen and heard, and above all employed.”

The Festival opens on Friday 11 September with Guy Johnston and pianist Melvyn Tan performing Mendelssohn’s dynamic Cello Sonata No 2 in D Major in the Marble Hall of Hatfield House, and closes there on Friday 2 October as the Navarra Quartet unite with clarinettist Julian Bliss for Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet. Soprano Katherine Broderick joins pianist Kathryn Stott in a programme of chamber songs by Quilter, Schubert and Fauré in the Marble Hall on Friday 25 September.

A historical concert in two parts on Friday 18 September delves into the sacred and secular seventeenth-century music-making of Hatfield House. Countertenor Iestyn Davies and lutenist Elizabeth Kenny perform songs by John Dowland written in praise of Queen Elizabeth I in the ornate Long Gallery, while organist Richard Gowers revives music from the House’s archives on the remarkable 1609 Hahn domestic organ in the Armoury.

Following Elizabeth I’s reign, the House benefitted from the extensive musical patronage of its owner Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury. Many of Britain’s most celebrated Tudor and Jacobean musicians crop up in some form in the Hatfield House archive: John Dowland, lutenist and composer, and Nicolas Lanier, first ever Master of the King’s Music, were in the First Earl of Salisbury’s pay. Thomas Morley, William Byrd and Orlando Gibbons, amongst many others, dedicated pieces to him.

The Festival will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2021, with celebrations set to include returning Festival Artists from the last ten years.

For more information on any of the above, please contact:
Festival Manager, Lucy Bending
+44 7853 275542

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  • Closed for this season
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