THE Farley Music Festival once again delighted and amazed classical music fans with its high quality of performances.
The opening concert, The Going Down of the Sun, was a well-crafted and varied programme.
Baritone Dyfed Wyn Evans sang two song cycles with pianist David Coram, followed by In Different Skies, a new setting of four songs to poems by Wilfred Owen composed by Simon McEnery.
This provided evocative music - sometimes theatrical, sometimes elegiac - with the last song, Futility, being particularly moving.
The Farley Quartet is currently reduced to a trio, but they took advantage of this in playing some lovely music for piano trio by both Frank Bridge and Max Bruch.
And the Farley Chorale was directed with great energy by Simon McEnery, who began the concert with Delius, then performed two Stanford pieces and The Hills by Ireland.
The festival included three piano recitals from world renowned young pianists. A particular highlight was Ukrainian Alexei Grynyuk.
From the first bars of the Scarlatti Sonat, with which Grynyuk opened his recital, the large audience at Farley knew this was to be an outstanding concert. A brilliantly conceived programme alternated lyrical and tempestuous pieces throughout the first half.
Grynyuk’s technical mastery was exceptional.
Along with dramatic pieces, he brought moments of profound beauty and insight, and the audience was held absolutely spellbound.
The Festival was brought to a close with Keep The Home Fires Burning with singers Simon McEnery and Audrey Palmer and pianist David Rhind-Tutt.
The programme of songs from the war alongside popular and light classical songs brimmed over with evocative nostalgia, while never being maudlin or over-sentimental.
It reminded us that even during the horror of war, music and humour show the strength of the human spirit, keeping hope for the future alive.
RICHARD GODFREY & MICHAEL REGAN