Crickhowell Choral Society was founded in 1981 by a local GP David Hiley who persuaded any of his patients who said they could sing to join him in creating a choir. From this small group, many of whom are still members, a strong society of some 50 to 60 singers has evolved.
In 1995, Stephen Marshall, the conductor, came up with the idea of a Crickhowell Music Festival, to take place during the first Bank Holiday in May, to give quality performances of exciting and often neglected repertoire that often focus on a given theme. The Festival has attracted some top drawer soloists, such as Emma Kirkby, James Gilchrist and Elin Manahan Thomas. This year’s theme is ‘Signs and Wonders’ and audiences can expect astonishing music depicting the apocalyptic events found in the Book of Revelation, and a range of pieces spanning medieval to modern times that deals with our deepest hopes and fears.
To celebrate its 21 years of bringing audiences exciting and often neglected repertoire, Crickhowell Choral Society, together with the stylistic expertise of star soloists Elin Manahan Thomas and Catherine King, will give the first performances in Wales of works by Italian composers, Pergolesi and Marcello (Saturday, 2nd May, 7.30pm, St Edmund’s Church, Crickhowell). Alongside such baroquery, Elin will also sing visionary works by John Tavener and the medieval abbess, Hildegard von Bingen, before joining the choir for Fauré’s inimitable setting of the Requiem. (Sunday 3rd May, 7.30pm in St Edmund’s Church, Crickhowell).
The Cardiff-based trio, Triptych, will provide some lighter fare for the Bank Holiday Recital (Monday, 4th May, 3.00pm, St Catwg’s Church, Llangattock) whilst, back by popular demand, ‘Up The Creek’ will kick-start events with a night of foot-tapping bluegrass music (Thursday, 30th April -7.30pm, The Manor Hotel, Crickhowell).
A fitting climax to the whole festival comes in a rare performance of Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, an extraordinary work which vividly captures both the agony and ecstasy of its subject (Thursday, 14th May, 7.30pm, St Edmund’s Church, Crickhowell).
Tickets are available from: Choir Members; Webbs Crickhowell; Abergavenny Music (01873 853394); the Secretary of CCS (01873 810935). For the full programme of events and ticket prices, visit www.crickhowellchoralsociety.org.