Spoilt for choice at Ruthven Festival

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CLASSICAL music lovers are in for a treat this weekend when the Ruthven Parish Festival takes place from June 10 to 12 in Ruthven Church, almost halfway between Kirriemuir and Blairgowrie.

For over 20 years it has been enticing the UK’s best classical musicians and singers to its stunning location on the banks of the River Isla - and this year is no exception.

This year, two very highly-acclaimed soloists will be performing at the festival. The Ruthven Festival Musicians will be joined by tenor Mark Wilde, who is in demand across the UK and Europe, and Christopher Gough, a top French Horn player who is fast gaining a reputation as a first-class composer.

The opening concert is the ‘Summer Serenade’ on Friday evening featuring a wonderful programme of music by Albinoni, Finzi, Benjamin Britten and Dag Wiren by the Ruthven Festival Musicians, led by Audrey Mattner and conducted by Howard Duthie.

One of the highlights of this concert will be the performance of Benjamin Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings which will showcase Mark Wilde’s wonderful voice, the horn-playing expertise of Christopher Gough and the talents of the string section of the Ruthven Festival Musicians.

The evening will also include the premiere of a new work for horn and strings by Christopher Gough which he composed specifically for the Ruthven Festival, and will conclude with a finger-buffet supper.

On Saturday, June 11, Mark Wilde, accompanied by Alan Jacques, will host a Master-class for Singers in the acoustically-perfect Ruthven Church. As well as providing an opportunity for local singers to receive personal advice from one of the country’s top opera singers, guests are welcome to go along and listen to the singers participating in the Master-class.

On Sunday, June 12, the Festival’s second concert - ‘Midsummer Sunday’ – will take place in Ruthven Church. Following a short wine reception at 3pm, the Ruthven Festival Musicians, led by Audrey Mattner and conducted by Alan Young, will perform a charming blend of fine music, including works by Respighi, Schubert and Mendelssohn. In addition, Mark Wilde will sing two duets with Ruthven Parish Festival favourite, soprano Alison McDonald, while Christopher Gough will perform a Mozart Horn Concerto. The Sunday afternoon concert will end with the St Paul’s Suite by Gustav Holst, a group of tunes guaranteed to set everyone off singing as they retire to the marquee for strawberries and cream.

For more information about the festival, to reserve programmes for the concerts, or for more information about the Mark Wilde’s Master-class for Singers call 01828 632558 or email ruthvenfestival@tiscali.co.uk