Much of the coming month is going to be spent in the recording studio. Next week I join Christian Curnyn and an all star cast to record Handel’s Acis and Galatea for Chandos and the following week I dust down my ‘early’ fingers for a recording of seventeenth century music with wonderful lutenist Matthew Wadsworth alongside violinists Cecilia Bernadini, Kati Debrezini and Huw Daniel. After that and a few bits and bobs I’m taking some family time in December as my wife is expecting our second child in the middle of the month!
I spent a delightful week at the Lumine festival run by the wonderful Norwegian mezzo, Marianne Beate Kielland. Based on the Lofoten archipelago in the far north of Norway, this Marianne Beate brings many of her singer (and continuo playing!) colleagues to this extremely beautiful place to perform concerts with and for her local community. I had an amazing time in this stunning place, working both with Marianne Beate’s choirs in their performances of Vivaldi and with a superb vocal consort made up of friends old and new. The concerts were magic, most wonderful of all was the concert of motets by Schutz, Schein, Homilius and Bach in the ancient 12th century church Trondenes Church. A special festival with a wonderful welcome, fabulous music and stunning scenery.
I’m delighted to announce that I will make my directing debut with The English Concert in Spring/Summer 2018. More info to follow.
After directing a fantastic Bach concert for the Larvikkbarok Festival in Norway with Barokkarerne and the Edvard Grieg Kor, I’ve been preparing to fly to Hong Kong to conduct the City Chamber of Hong Kong in a programme of early classical symphonies and Opera Seria arias with the Counter-tenor, Max Emanuel Cencic.
Really pleased with the feedback for the Handel Jeptha that I conducted with Contraband for Iford Arts in July and August.
“Contraband, conducted from the harpsichord by Christopher Bucknall, produce a fervent, accurate and above all heartfelt account of Handel’s score, which thrills with pain and tension.”
Charlotte Valori, Operissima
“Bucknall’s fiercely dramatic orchestra kept a real forward pressure on events”
Robert Thickness, Opera Now
Lovely taster of the fantastic Vivaldi, La Senna Festeggiante I conducted for B'Rock in January. See my Media page for the video.
This last weekend saw the launch of my new ensemble, Contraband. Our first concerts were as part of a wonderful festival in Beverley, Yorkshire - New Paths. We performed a wonderful buzzing mini Bach-fest within the wider weekend festival - gorgeous solo Bach Cantatas in the Minster late in the evening, a raucous Coffee Cantata in a local coffee shop, a master-class, a side-by-side project playing Telemann with talented local school children, and all topped off by a dazzling concert of concerti and arias showcasing the team!
Vivaldi’s La Senna Festeggiante, which I directed in Metz with B'Rock Orchestra and soloists Karina Gauvin, Sonia Prina and Ugo Guagliardo has received a great review on ResMusica which can be read here in the original French.
The review was enthusiastic, leading with 'One could not dream, it must be said, of a better interpretation', before going on to observe that "at the head of all B'Rock Orchestra, director Christopher Bucknall knew very well how to make the “French" character ... sparing us the excesses of passion and hysterical traits which tend to become today the norm when one exhumes a little known work of Vivaldi'.
The production was picked up by France's Pay-TV Mezzo channel so I hope to have some clips up in the coming the months.
The New Year has got off to a cracking start with three separate Vivaldi projects. First is Vivaldi’s glorious serenata, La Senna Festeggiante which I’m thrilled to be directing in three concerts in France with B’Rock (Belgian Baroque Orchestra Ghent). With sensuous orchestration, three fabulous soloists (Karina Gauvin, Sonia Prina, Ugo Guagliardo) and some fantastic concert venues, this promises to be a wonderful project. Next is a brilliant programme Harmonic Inspirations, devised by B’Rock’s concertmaster Rodolfo Richter of concertos from Vivaldi’s L’Estro Armonico alongside works by Reich and Lygeti. Lastly a tour of some superb European halls with Vivaldi’s Oratorio Juditha Triumphans and a few days of winter holiday as well!