Monday 19 November 2007

Finland, Cambridge.........the world

Seppo Kimanen, erstwhile founder and artistic director of the Kuhmo Festival - one of Finland's most brilliant summer festivals - has, for the last three years, been the Director of the Finnish Institute in London. Just before leaving to take over responsibility for the promotion of Finnish music and musicians at their Embassy in Tokyo, he hosted a drinks reception for the International Artist Managers' Association. Why is a chamber orchestra such as Britten Sinfonia a member of IAMA? Well, we work closely with many of the management companies based in London who look after the soloists we work with; we also benefit from the legal and other support services on offer to members; but above all, it is another excellent networking arena, as we spread the word about Britten Sinfonia's activities. Thence to a dinner at the Garrick with the IAMA board, with an exemplary 2003 E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone.

One of the dilemmas of being based in Cambridge is deciding which of the world-class choirs to go and listen to during term-time. King's, Trinity and St. John's are all within a few hundred metres of each other. It's a tough call, but I often get my Sunday morning choral fix at the latter. Today, Messiaen and Dupre, with the Messe Solennelle by Louis Vierne, a setting which veers between early-20th century romanticism and music which is just this side of bombast (but perfect for the St. John's organ!).

Our audiences in Cambridge and Norwich will remember the Haydn Masses we have performed with the Choir during recent seasons. David Hill has moved on now to the BBC Singers, but his replacement at St. John's as Director of Music, Andrew Nethsinga, is already making his mark.

Our last project with David Hill was to record works by Bairstow. Full details are available from Hyperion, and copies can also be ordered from Britten Sinfonia.

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