Jubilee celebrations at Ruthven Festival

THIS weekend (June 8-10) the annual Ruthven Parish Festival will be contributing to the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations in its own special way with two first-class concerts of classical music with a royal link.

On Friday, June 8, ‘Crowned Connections’ will be the theme of programme performed by The Ruthven Festival Musicians, conducted by Howard Duthie and led by Audrey Mattner.

Amongst other pieces of classical music, this concert will feature an arrangement for flute and strings from an opera about an African king and a Haydn Symphony dedicated to the ill-fated French queen, Marie Antoinette.

“In addition, and in a break with tradition, the Festival will feature a choir,” explained Reverend Ian Murray, newly-appointed Chair of Ruthven Parish Festival Management Committee.

“The Perth-based Chansons choir will be treating us to a performance of Mozart’s Missa Brevis and the Choral Dances from Benjamin Britten’s Gloriana, which was first performed in 1953, the year of the Queen’s Coronation.”

As previously announced, Ruthven Parish Festival’s Ensembles Master-class on June 9 will be led by internationally-renowned viola and ensemble player, Michael Beeston.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for local musical ensembles to receive tuition from one of the UK’s best-known ensemble specialists,” said Reverend Murray.

The concert on Sunday, June 10 – fittingly entitled ‘Happy And Glorious’- will begin with a performance of works by British composers, including Ian Whyte.

“For many years, Ian was BBC Scotland’s head of music and the conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra,” said Evelyn Hood of Ruthven Parish Festival and Ruthven Parish Association, the local organisation which now holds the lease on the church at the centre of the Festival.

“There will also be a fast and furious piece by John Ireland – ‘Toccata’ from Concertino Pastorale - and, in complete contrast, Purcell’s soothing and gentle ‘Chacony in G’.”

Evelyn explained that there will be a further break from Ruthven Parish Festival tradition for the second half of Sunday’s concert, with a performance of the ‘Regular Royal’ excerpts from Gilbert and Sullivan’s ‘The Gondoliers’.

“The Gondoliers was Queen Victoria’s favourite G&S,” revealed Evelyn, who added that, at Sunday’s concert, The Ruthven Festival Musicians will be conducted by Allan Young and the soloists will be Alison McDonald, Helen Brown, Paul Vaughan and Craig Dennis. In addition, the role of the narrator in ‘The Gondoliers’ will be performed by actor Joseph Hood, grandson of Evelyn and her late husband Angus, the founder of Ruthven Parish Festival.

As well as changes to the traditional format of the Ruthven Parish Festival programme, Evelyn revealed that another custom has undergone a radical change – the seating arrangements!

“Regular Ruthven Parish Festival attendees will no doubt be relieved to hear that one of the first acts of Ruthven Parish Association after we were granted the lease of the church was to replace the church pews with more comfortable chairs,” said Evelyn.

“This has also opened up the interior of the building and we now have all this wonderful space enhancing Ruthven Church’s fantastic acoustics.”

For more information about Ruthven Parish Festival, to reserve programmes for the concerts, or for more information about the Master-class for Ensembles call 01828 632558 or email ruthvenfestival@tiscali.co.uk.