The pastoral and romantic in East Sussex
Fancy a winter excursion over the High Weald via Battle and Heathfield to a beautiful 13th century, grade I listed church? Steeped in history with a yew tree aged over 2,000 years old in the churchyard, nearby Hogge House is where the first English cannon is thought to have been cast in the 16th century. Dave Poole shows you how to link this charming trip with a wonderful concert of rarely performed English music.
Elgar’s Romance for Bassoon, written in 1911 between two of his best known major works, the Violin Concerto and the 2nd Symphony, explores the poetic and singing qualities of the bassoon.
Finzi’s Dies Natalis (Day of Birth) was written for soprano and string orchestra and sets various poetic meditations by the 17th century Thomas Traherne. These highly evocative contemplations on the mystery and wonders of life are extracts from a bundle of manuscripts that were fortuitously saved from oblivion in the 1880s! As with the Elgar, this gentle, radiant music evokes a mood which, though still widely appreciated, somehow today points to a more innocent era before 1914.
Finzi, whose first music teacher was killed in WW1, completed this work in 1939. After the war in 1946 it was premiered in Hereford, just as the Elgar piece had been 35 years earlier. A fine recording in the 1960s by Wilfred Brown brought the work much recognition, but created the idea that it was written for the tenor voice.
Susana Dias will be the soloist in the Elgar, and the concert concludes with a performance of Beethoven’s 4th Symphony.
The atmospheric setting for this pre-Christmas concert will make you enjoy the mince pies and mulled wine all the more! And bring the family – it’s free for under 18s. Try a pub lunch and enjoy the open parkland that is Buxted Park while it is still light.
The concert is supported by the Finzi Trust.
St Margaret the Queen, Buxted Park TN22 4AY: concert of Gerald Finzi’s Dies Natalis, Edward Elgar’s Romance for bassoon and orchestra, Op. 8, and Beethoven’s 4th Symphony, 3pm Saturday 6 December. Tickets on the door £10, students and under 18s free.