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Oundle International Virtual Festival 2020

Our mission is to enrich people’s lives and enhance their wellbeing through the positive power of the creative arts and education, in particular through  music, live performances and educational courses for young organists. The current health crisis means that, while we have had to cancel all of our planned activity for the rest of this year, we have nonetheless created the Virtual Festival. While access to it is free, we hope you might consider making a donation. Whatever you can spare will make a difference and help us plan for the future festivals. You can do this by clicking the Donate button which will take you to our JustGiving page. Thank you for your support.

The Price of a Bed for the Night


Storytelling with music by Jo Blake and Rimski & Handkerchief.

The Price of a Bed for the Night What is a story worth? When you’re down on your luck and all spent out, a story or a song might be all you have... but it is worth its weight in gold. And, as one traveller finds out, to have no story to tell can lead to a night spent out in the cold! Come join us as we wander into the strange world of folk and fairytale, where, under the light of the moon and in the flicker of the firelight, not everything is as it seems. As you listen, fill your pockets with stories... you never know when you might need one. Each day a new episode of a continuing story, and an activity to try at home! Suitable for family audiences, 5+

In Episode One, three travellers arrive at a strange old house on a stormy night and begin to tell their stories...

In Episode Two, the first traveller finishes his tale of mystery, magic and transformation, while the second traveller readies himself to begin his tale... the night passes...

In Episode Three, we follow silly Jack as he makes his way through the world... and discover that one of the travellers has no story to tell, and so faces a forfeit!

In Episode Four, the man who has no story finds himself entering another land...

In Episode Five, we find out what happens to the man who had no story... and his companions left behind in that strange old house of stories... 

Schubert/Liszt: Ständchen (Serenade) - Melvyn Tan piano

 Recorded in the Great Hall of Boughton House, Northamptonshire, Schubert’s Ständchen (Serenade) as arranged by that piano prodigy, Franz Liszt. Liszt could not resist arranging wonderful Schubert songs so that he himself could play them on the piano alone so no-one else got the limelight. The Serenade has three verses and for each verse, Liszt uses a different register of the piano.

Melvyn Tan’s international career has seen him perform at many of the world’s leading concert halls, from the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Vienna Konzerthaus to London’s Wigmore and Royal Festival Halls and New York’s Lincoln Center. You will feel like a treasured guest in the magnificent surroundings of Boughton House with an unique opportunity to hear one of the world’s truly great pianists.

Oundle and area Virtual Open Gardens

A video montage of photos provided by those who would have opened their gardens during the Oundle International Festival 2020's Oundle on Show weekend, and those of some other friends. The images are accompanied by two of The Orgelbüchlein Project pieces, based on chorale melodies, and played by William Whitehead on the organ of Lincoln's Inn, London.

The first (which we hear twice) is a sort of 'wonky tango' from Roderick Williams on Ich weiss ein Blümlein hübsch und fein (I know of a little flower, fine and pretty), and the calm, minimalistic Nun ruhen alle Wälder (Now all the woods are sleeping) from Dutch composer Jacques van Oortmerssen.

Ich weiss ein Blümlein hübsch und fein
I know of a little flower, fine and pretty,
Which I love beyond all measure.
I keep it in my heart of hearts,
That little flower, best of all blooms. 
Nun ruhen alle Wälder
Now all the woods are sleeping,
And night and stillness creeping
O'er city, man, and beast;
But thou, my heart, awake thee,
To pray'r awhile betake thee,
And praise thy Maker ere thou rest. 

Beethoven Spring Sonata 1st movement
Ayana Shah violin - Emily Smith piano

Ayana says: "I was shocked and extremely grateful when I won the Oundle Young Musician 2019 title at the age of 15. Having competed for many years in the Oundle Festival of Music and Drama, winning the competition seemed very surreal but once again, I was amazed at the excellent standard of the other fantastic musicians.

I have participated in the Britten Sinfonia Academy and all my school music groups this year, as well as preparing for my Piano ARSM Diploma in December which I passed! Playing both the piano and violin has allowed me to meet a lot of new people and also extend my repertoire thanks to my wonderful teachers!

Over the next few years, I will be preparing for my music GCSE (as well as the other subjects!). I hope to take A Level Music in 6th Form to help me extend my knowledge and understanding.

Glinka The Lark transcribed Balakirev
Elizabeth Bass harp

The Lark was originally one of a group of twelve songs by Russian composer Mikhail Glinka entitled Farewell to St Petersburg. Mily Balakirev was inspired to start composing by Glinka and his transcription of The Lark succeeds in retaining the beautiful melody while dazzling us with its virtuosity.

Northamptonshire born and bred, a previous Oundle Young Musician of the Year (2009), Elizabeth Bass is one of the leading British harpists of her generation. She has performed with many of the UK’s leading orchestras including BBC Symphony Orchestra and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and performed as a soloist at the Royal Albert Hall, Birmingham Town Hall, St. John’s, Smith Square.


William Byrd A Fancie for my My Ladye Nevell
J S Bach Brandenburg Concerto No 5 1st movement
Guy Whatley organ/harpsichord

William Byrd was an English composer of the Renaissance. He wrote in many of the forms current in England at the time, including various types of sacred and secular polyphony, keyboard (the so-called Virginalist school), and consort music. The Fancie is one of the 42 pieces in My Ladye Nevells Booke which, together with the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, is one of the most important collections of Renaissance keyboard music.

Johann Sebastian Bach wrote Six Brandenburg Concertos which he presented to Christian Ludwig, Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedtin 1721. They are widely regarded as some of the best orchestral compositions of the Baroque era. The most important thing to note about the No 5 is that this was the first time ever that the harpsichord had been used in a concerto for anything other than the continuo.

Recently acclaimed by the Arizona Daily Star as “a rock star on the harpsichord,” Guy Whatley enjoys a diverse international career as a harpsichordist and organist, performing as a soloist, collaborative artist, and ensemble director. Had we been able to go ahead this year, he would have been a tutor on our Oundle for Organists course.


bluebells / raindrops
Nick Penny harp

Of his compositions, local Oundle musician Nick Penny says: " On 21 April 2020 lockdown was preventing me visiting the local bluebell woods I loved. I longed to go up there, but then realised that there were a few bluebells growing at the bottom of my garden. So I played my handpan piece near those instead. My conservatory has a lovely warm acoustic, and when I was playing my harp there one day it started raining. The sound of the rain falling gently on the roof inspired me to write this piece, which I called raindrops. One April morning during lockdown the rain once again inspired me to put the two sounds together."


Beethoven Moonlight Sonata 1st movement
Xiaowen Shang piano

Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 14 in C♯ minor "Quasi una fantasia", Op. 27, No. 2 is popularly known as the Moonlight Sonata. It was completed in 1801 and dedicated in 1802 to his pupil, Countess Giulietta Guicciardi. It is one of Beethoven's most popular compositions for the piano, and a popular favourite even in his own day. The name Moonlight Sonata comes from remarks made by the German music critic and poet Ludwig Rellstab. In 1832, five years after Beetho-ven's death, Rellstab likened the effect of the first movement to that of moonlight shining upon Lake Lucerne.

Xiaowen Shang is studying with Joanna MacGregor at the Royal Academy of Music in London where she recorded her contribution during lockdown. She started playing the piano at home in China when she was four years old. She is a versatile musician, interested in early and contemporary music as well as classical repertoire. In 2018, she obtained a full En-trance Scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music and recently received the First Prize in the WCOM Harriet Cohen Bach Com-petition in Royal Academy of Music in 2019.

Budapest Café Orchestra

The BCO was established by British composer and violinist Christian Garrick in 2009. Led by Christian, they play a blistering barrage of traditional folk and gypsy-flavoured music from across the Balkans and Russia, Klezmer laments, Romanian Doinas, Hungarian Czardas and their own unique re-imaginings of some of the biggest pieces ever written by the greats.

Christian Garrick violin, darbuka
Eddie Hession button accordion
Adrian Zolotuhi guitar, saz, domra, tambourine
Kelly Cantlon double bass

A Virtual Bach Walk
Anna Chalmers cello

Anna Chalmers plays each movement of Bach's First Cello Suite in G major, BWV 1007, at different church in the Oundle area. The Prelude, mainly consisting of arpeggiated chords, is the best known movement from the entire set of six suites and is regularly heard on television and in films.

For a number of years the Oundle International Fesitval has programmed a Bach walk and concerts to commemorate the 500 mile round trip J S Bach made in his early twenties to hear the great organist and composer Dietrich Buxtehude play the organ. Our much shorter walk takes in the churches of St Peter's Oundle (Prelude), St Leonard's Glapthorn (Allemande), St Andrew's Cotterstock (Courante), St Mary and All Saints Fotheringhay (Sarabande), St Mary's Warmington (Minuets 1 & 2), and St Mary's Woodnewton (Gigue).

Three Schubert Songs
Magnus Walker tenor Frikki Walker piano

Tenor, Magnus Walker, currently in his third year at the Royal Academy of Music, sings Frühlingsglaube (Faith in Spring), Lachen und Weinen (Laughter and tears) and An die Musik (To music), accompanied by his father Frikki Walker. Recorded during Lockdown in St Mary's Cathedral, Glasgow where Frikki Walker is Director of Music.


Frühlingsglaube (Faith in Spring)

Balmy breezes are awakened,
They whisper and move day and night,
And everywhere creative.
O fresh scent, o new sound!
Now, poor heart, don't be afraid.
Now all, all must change.

With each day the world grows fairer,
One cannot know what is still to come,
The flowering refuses to cease.
Even the deepest, most distant valley is in flower.
Now, poor heart, forget your torment.
Now all, all must change.
Lachen und Weinen (Laughter and Tears)

Laughter and tears at any hour
rest on Love in so many ways.
In the morning I laugh for joy,
and why I now weep
in the evening glow,
is something unknown to me.

Tears and laughter at any hour
rest on Love in so many ways.
In the evening I weep for sorrow;
and why you can awake
in the morning with laughter,
I must ask you, o my heart!
An die Musik (To Music)

You, lovely art, in how many gloomy hours,
of experiencing the turmoil of life,
have you ignited love in my heart
and transported me to a better world?

Often a sigh from your harp -
a sweet and holy chord from you -
opened the heaven of better times.
You lovely art, I thank you for it!

J.S. Bach - Toccata in F Major, BWV 540
Anna Lapwood organ

Recorded on the organ of Queen's College Chapel, Cambridge by Anna Lapwood, who would have been a tutor on the Oundle for Organists course this year. She is Director of Music at Pembroke College, Cambridge, and was previously the first female organ scholar at Magdalen College, Oxford. A trailblazing musician, as a broadcaster she is regular contributor to BBC Radio 3 and hosts a live, weekly classical music show on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire. This year she made her TV presenting debut, hosting BBC Four's coverage of BBC Young Musician 2020. Alongside her work as a conductor,  Director of Music and public speaker, she performs an extensive number of organ recitals on some of the greatest instruments across Europe each season.

Ferris & Milnes - The Kings of West End Cabaret

In an amazing mash-up tour de force, Dominic Ferris and Martin Milnes perform all the West End Musicals and Broadway shows at West End LIVE 2019 in Trafalgar Square, London

Dominic Ferris and Martin Milnes performed their debut show in 2015. Later that year they premiered their original medley 33 Sondheim Numbers In 5 Minutes at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in Stephen Sondheim’s 85th Birthday Gala Hey, Old Friends! They have made a special appearance in Live At The Tower! at The Tower of London, and performed four years consecutively at West End LIVE in Trafalgar Square.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Quartet No. 1 in G Minor K478 3rd movement
Kenley Quartet:
Joana Praça violin James Flannery viola
Benedict Swindells cello Ivelina Krasteva piano

Mozart received a commission for three quartets in 1785 from the publisher Franz Anton Hoffmeister who thought this quartet too difficult for amateurs and that the public would not buy it, so he released Mozart from the obligation of completing the set. Surprising to us now, that assessment accords with a view widely held of Mozart in his own lifetime, that of a greatly talented composer who wrote very difficult music. Almost a mini-piano concerto, the third movement of this quartet is utterly joyous and it is hard not to smile.

The members of the Kenley Quartet all study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where they created their ensemble. It is made up of two players who began their musical journey locally to Oundle with the others from Portugal and Bulgaria. Last year the Quartet were fortunate enough to collaborate with Carnegie Halls affiliate ensemble, the Decoda Ensemble from New York.

Made specially for us during lockdown, each member of the quartet had to record their part separately and very far apart: Joana in Setúbal, Portugal, James in Northampton, Benedict in Stamford and Ivelina in Plovdiv, Bulgaria!

Mike Evin
Have I ever loved?

A Virtual Festival bonus track! Always good to discover something new. This was suggested by our friends at the Nene Valley Brewery and Tap & Kitchen, where Mike Evin appeared last year.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We are conscious of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the UK and its potential impact on plans in the coming months. The wellbeing and the safety of our audiences, staff, participants and associates is of upmost priority to us.

We want to reassure you that we are monitoring the evolving situation regarding the Coronavirus very closely and are following all advice issued by the Chief Medical Officer, Public Health England.

Current guidance is that it is safe for big cultural events to go ahead as usual. We are operating in line with our current terms and conditions which can be found on our website. The UK Government’s Coronavirus Action Plan suggests that, at a later stage measures may be considered to reduce “the number of large-scale gatherings”. If this does arise it will likely be aimed at larger events where a significant national or international travel is involved for organisers, audiences and participants. The majority of the Oundle Music Trusts events are small-scale and locally-focussed.

We would encourage all to read and follow the latest NHS guidelines on how best to look after themselves, including advice on handwashing and hygiene, foreign travel, symptoms to look out for and action to take.

The Oundle Cinema, Food Festival, International Festival, Box Office and Oundle for Organists are fully supportive of any preventative measures that might be required in the interests of overall public health in relation to Covid-19 and will respect further advice and instructions provided by the Chief Medial Officer and Central Government. We will continue to share information as it becomes available and keep you updated as the situation evolves.

For the most up-to-date information from central Government, visit their website: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-action-plan-launched

12March 2020

Late Night Organ Recital

Whatley webFriday 17 July

Guy Whatley organ


FREE ADMISSION (retiring collection)

In a late-night candlelit concert, internationally renowned organist Guy Whatley play a programme which includes music by Byrd, Bach and Mendelssohn. Students from the Oundle for Organists Summer Course will also sing plainchant and chorales.

Performance ends at approximately 10.45pm

Courses Administrator - Maternity Cover

Oundle for Organists is run by the Oundle Music Trust. It is one of the leading providers of organ music education in the UK through its successful programme of residential courses and its new online support and mentoring initiatives. Founded in 1984, many OfO alumni are now at the forefront of the music profession, holding cathedral, church, and teaching organ-related posts throughout the UK and abroad.

The Courses Administrator role involves providing vital administrative and practical support to the Director of Oundle for Organists and assisting the Administrative Director in the organisation of the many activities in which the organisation is involved. The successful applicant will be an extremely efficient, pro-active individual with proven administrative experience which includes knowledge of spreadsheets and databases. Excellent communication skills and the ability to think on your feet, be able to prioritise actions, progress several projects simultaneously and work independently whilst being a supportive member of a small team. You must be able to be available to work throughout the courses held in Oundle, currently held for one week in July and three days during the Easter holidays.

The successful candidate must be an approachable and friendly, professional individual; being the
first point of contact for customers entering the office and students considering attending an OfO
course or their parents. An interest in education, the performing arts, and the desire to work creatively and enthusiastically within one of the region’s leading arts organisations is important.

Download the full Job Spec click HERE


Lunchtime Recital - Jeremy Filsell

JeremyFilsell webTuesday 9 July

Jeremy Filsell organ


TICKETS: £6.50 (Buy tickets to 3 or more Lunchtime Recitals for only £5 each)

From April 2019 Jeremy Filsell is Director of Music at the worldfamous St Thomas’ Church 5th Avenue, New York and we are delighted to welcome him to Oundle both as a tutor on the Oundle for Organists summer school and as a performer. This recital is built around the French organist and composer Gaston Litaize’s Messe de la Toussaint and also features works by Buxtehude and Francis Pott.

Performance ends at approximately 1.45pm