Southwell Music Festival by Robert Parker

North and South join with the East Midlands at the Southwell Music Festival by Robert Parker
This year the hugely successful Southwell Music Festival in the heart of Nottinghamshire returned for a full six days. The 2020 Festival had to be cancelled due to the lockdown and 2021 saw a partial return, with 2022 back “as normal” to great acclaim. The big choral showpiece this year, conducted by Marcus Farnsworth, was the rarely performed oratorio St Paul by Mendelssohn, which was received rapturously by a full house in Southwell Minster on Saturday 27th August. The horn section comprised Anna Douglass and Letty Stott from London, Fergus Kerr from Glasgow, and Robert Parker from Nottingham, all meeting up to play in the beautiful cathedral town of Southwell. 

Marcus Farnsworth, originally from Nottinghamshire, founded the Festival in 2014. He has carved out a successful career as a baritone appearing for the ENO, Royal Opera House and in concert on Radio 3 amongst numerous highlights. As the inspirational artistic director, he has created opportunities both for local musicians, and the players and singers in the Festival Voices and Festival Sinfonia, across the six days of the Festival in all manner of other musical activities, ranging from chamber music and educational work to jazz and folk.

Principal horn Anna gave two performances of another rarely heard work – the Quintet for piano, violin, cello, clarinet and horn by Ralph Vaughan Williams, chosen as part of the celebration of his 150th anniversary year, while Letty devised and presented Custard the Dragon, an interactive family musical adventure (fancy dress encouraged!).  Horn players have become very versatile these days…

l-r: Robert Parker, Letty Stott, Anna Douglass, Fergus Kerr