A classic festival for music lovers

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SUBLIME classical and choral music returns to a 12th century north Northumberland venue this weekend.

Now in its 18th year, the Brinkburn Music Festival takes place at Brinkburn Priory from tomorrow until Sunday.

The event has a new format this time around, running over one weekend instead of two, but artistic director Paul McCreesh is sure the programme will appeal to classical music lovers old and new.

The Northern Sinfonia return to Brinkburn to open the festival at 7.30pm tomorrow with an exciting evening of virtuoso string music.

This will be followed on Saturday at 7.30pm by the Gabrieli Consort Players, accompanied by organist William Whitehead.

The Gabreli’s will be premiering their new choral programme, which combines Byrd’s sublime Great Service with 20th century and contemporary music, including two specially commissioned pieces by Jonathan Dove.

On Sunday, Iestyn Davies, who is regarded to be the finest of Britain’s young countertenors, will perform a programme of baroque music, including Couperin’s exquisite Holy Week Lecons and a flamboyant work by Buxtehude, at 2pm.

Then at 4pm, the Gabrieli Players and the North East’s newest youth choir – The North East Youth Chorale – will give what promises to be a roof-raising performance of Fauré’s Requiem. The concert will also feature French harp music performed by Gabriella Dall’Olio and Debussy’s trio for harp, viola and flute.

Advanced booking is highly recommended for all the concerts. Any unsold tickets will be available on the door from 30 minutes prior to the performance.

Evensong takes place at 6.30pm on Sunday and all seats are unreserved and free for this.

For a full programme and festival details and to buy tickets, visit www.brinkburnmusic.org or contact the festival office on 01665 833751.