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English Song Festival

The English Song Festival at The Forge in Camden, London began on the 13th of this month and will continue until the 10th of April in a series of Sunday evening performances. The festival is curated by pianist William Vann. I heard a sample on Radio 3 and was most impressed, not least by the ambition. Accompanied by Vann, ten singers and a violinist are performing music written by more than twenty-five English composers. 

Next up is a recital of songs that use the words of William Shakespeare, including Tippett's wonderful Songs for Ariel. As they say, "All five evenings will take the audience through a fascinating exploration of the inimitable and ravishing songs – and poems – that are an invaluable part of the cultural heritage of this country." This is the inaugural festival, so let's hope it builds and becomes as much a part of the cultural heritage of this country itself, much like the Proms.  

Altogether now:
Where the bee sucks, there suck I:
In a cowslip's bell I lie; 
There I couch when owls do cry. 
On the bat's back I do fly 
After summer merrily. 
Merrily, merrily shall I live now 
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.


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