Nothing creates a sense of place like live music, so when Sarah and Mark invited my chamber ensemble, London Conchord, to become the resident ensemble at Rathfinny we jumped at the chance to bring music into the stunning setting of the Estate and to make Rathfinny our musical home. As a group and as individuals we have played all over the world in venues such as the White House and the Wigmore Hall, but never in a Winery. The acoustics are perfect!
As you drive into Rathfinny Estate the views of the sea over Cuckmere Haven are breathtaking and I chose this as my inspiration when I devised the musical programme this year. All the concerts are full of gorgeous music but I thought I would write about 2 which particularly exite me:
It seems perfect to start a musical festival in a vineyard with an opening night which is a summer’s evening concert and wine-tasting dinner. We get the evening going with an English Sussex Sparkling reception in the Tasting Room overlooking the vines before heading into the Winery itself where you will dine and be entertained. The programme isn’t published but I can divulge that there will be Argentinian tangos, entertaining Hungarian dances and some sumptuous German Brahms to accompany the wines Mark has chosen for the dinner. After coffee, the Winery will be transformed with blue underwater light and we will play the “Voice of the Whale” – a rare chance to hear this magical, mesmerizing piece. I imagine guests will linger to look at the moonlit sea as the evening ends and they drive home.
The other event which I am particularly looking forward to is our Saturday Gala evening. What better guest could we have than Dame Felicity Lott, who knows this area intimately and has chosen her own beautiful song selection about the sea. Another local, Virginia Woolf, also sings through the programme this evening in Rhythm of Silence, our new theatrical performance piece, which gives a musical rhythm to her words. With Michael Berkeley leading the pre-concert talk, ravishing music and “Café Conchord!” providing light musical entertainment on into the evening after the main concert and where guests are invited to linger in the Tasting Room and the outside terrace, this will be a truly memorable event for which I hope you will join us at Rathfinny.
I am thrilled that Rathfinny can add to the cultural landscape of Sussex; I have just booked tickets to the opening night of Glyndebourne where I was excited to see they are presenting the dramatic and rarely-heard Poliuto by Donizetti – an event I also would hugely encourage you to attend. How amzing to have this all on our doorstep!
Emily Pailthorpe – Artistic Director