Brighton Early Music Festival sets out plans for a very different year ahead

Brighton Early Music Festival is offering Con Arte e Maestria, an online concert from Monteverdi String Band.

Saturday, 23rd January 2021, 8:00 am
Oliver Webber - pic Boris Berc

Spokeswoman Cathy Boyes said: “Here at BREMF we are making exciting plans for 2021, including a return to live events as the year progresses.

“However, it probably won’t surprise you to hear that we are not planning for our normal 25-event live festival this autumn, opting instead for a mixture of live and online content, spread out across the year to give us more flexibility and a better chance of achieving what we’ve planned.

“We’re currently focusing on a series of events in late June and early July, including our 2021 Early Opera La Liberazione di Ruggiero, as well as some events at the traditional BREMF festival time in October/November, including the BREMF Live! ensembles showcase.

“These remain challenging times for the arts sector, and we are so grateful to our audience for your ongoing positivity and support for our events however we’re able to bring them to you.

“One part of our offering for 2021 will definitely be high quality events screened online, in a similar way to our 2020 [email protected] festival. We are kicking things off in 2021 with Con Arte e Maestria – an offering from Oliver Webber (violin) and Steven Devine (keyboards) of Monteverdi String Band. The event will be broadcast on our YouTube and Facebook channels on Friday, February 5 at 7.30pm.

“Con Arte e Maestria refers to the title of Francesco Rognoni’s spectacular 1620 reworking of a Palestrina madrigal, ornamented ‘with art and skill’; it represents the culmination of a tradition of improvised ornamentation that had flourished in northern Italy for generations.

“Monteverdi String Band members Oliver Webber and Steven Devine – both well known to BREMF audiences – showcase the diverse musical personalities on display in this tradition: the measured brilliance of Girolamo dalla Casa, the exquisite daring of Riccardo Rognoni, the sensuous fluidity of Giovanni Bovicelli, and finally the fiery virtuosity of Francesco Rognoni – the first of these to write specifically for the violin, exploiting its techniques to the full with trills, runs, varied articulation, dotted rhythms, leaps, and echoes.

“Inspired by the examples of these great musicians, Webber adds to the programme with his own embellished versions of madrigals and chansons, and Devine offers intricate and virtuosic keyboard works by Giovanni Gabrieli and Michelangelo Rossi to complement the music on offer.”