Rathfinny Wine Estate

A weekend of chamber music at Rathfinny

If there is one thing I have learnt over the past four and a half years, it is that we are on a steep learning curve in so many ways!  Not only with the world of wine and creating the perfect Sussex Sparkling but in relation to starting a business, taking on a staff (now 19), opening a shop, understanding PR and branding, designing websites, fitting out Flint Barns (recently described by Sawdays as a ‘poshtel’!) but I have also learnt more than I want to about planning applications, bats and waste water treatment plants!

Rathfinny Festival Front Cover

However, as regular readers will know, we have been planning our first chamber music festival and it has been an amazing project to work on.  Who knew the intricacies of a classical concert programme?!  I’m delighted to now be able to share with you this exciting programme, detailing concerts which will take place between 12th – 14th June, or as Mark likes to say, “on his birthday weekend!”  To add to our perfect location, perfect soil and perfect vines we are now adding a truly perfect event.

Those of you who came to our first concert last year, which was extraordinary, will realise how very lucky we are to have the London Conchord Ensemble as our resident musicians, with each member a leading artist in their own right.  You will also recall how this venture came about.  I am lucky enough to have an old friend, Emily Pailthorpe, who is one of the world’s leading oboists.  Our friendship has grown over the years as we share a guilty secret – we are subversive quilters!  Our shared love of vintage fabrics and sewing has seen us through many trials over the past 12 years and we have watched each other grow and develop our interests – I was there throughout the early days of London Conchord and she has been with me on our Rathfinny journey.  When the London Conchord Ensemble needed a venue to call home, the Winery beckoned and it was with nerves and anticipation that we tested the acoustics with Emily’s oboe.  I will always remember the moment when her music soared to the beams in the Winery and we knew it was a perfect marriage.

Emily, as our Artistic Director, has put together an amazing collection of music, incorporating the theme of the Sea throughout, in which every event has a unique flavour and each day its own character.

Rathfinny Festival Weekend Glance

You will see that some of the highlights are:-

  • Our opening black tie evening of food, music and wine where Mark will take you through a selection of wines from different countries and London Conchord will play music from each wine region.  This is followed by a special late night performance of George Crumb’s haunting ‘Vox Balaenae’ (Voice of the Whale).  Individual tickets can be purchased, come and meet new people, or buy a table of 10 and invite your friends.  We may also have the opportunity of doing a corporate event on the Thursday if that would be of any interest to companies – let us know.
  • Our Gala evening on Saturday where we welcome our special guest, Dame Felicity Lott, and showcase our new co-commission with Charleston Festival the ‘Rhythm of Silence’, inspired by Virginia Woolf and Benjamin Britten and devised by the dynamic theatre director Alexandra Spencer-Jones.
  • Final Sunday afternoon concert with Beethoven’s Quintet for piano and winds and Schubert’s masterful Octet.
  • Two intimate concerts: a piano four-hands tea recital on Saturday and on Sunday a Baroque concerto with coffee.

Make a weekend of it or come for a night, picnic or eat at the Flint Barns, visit the village of Alfriston or just come and have a glass of bubbly with us in the Winery.  Bookings can be made online at www.rathfinnyestate.com/events/

We’d be grateful if you could forward this to other friends who may like to join us.

Sarah Driver



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