Beowulf Diary, 14 September 2017, Mark Williams joins the cast

We are thrilled to announce that Mark Williams, better known for his roles as Mr Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potter movies, Doctor Who and Father Brown for BBC TV, will be our special guest narrator in the forthcoming tour of Toby Young’s epic musical tale, Beowulf.

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Beowulf Diary, 21 July 2017, Christopher Monks, conductor

About two years ago the soprano Elin Manahan Thomas came to me having just worked on another project elsewhere with our composer in residence, Toby Young.  She, like I was really taken by his music and his ability to work proactively and inspiringly with the musicians he was writing for. Elin convinced me that the epic story of Beowulf was the right starting point for a collaboration.

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Tony Hadley at Oz & Armonico

We’ve just returned from our summer festivals tour of Oz & Armonico Drink to Music which included the privilege of being artists-in-residence at Harrogate Festival and a trip to beautiful Buxton. Our final concert before the summer break was at Lichfield Festival where we found we had a surprise visitor: the Spandau Ballet and I’m A Celebrity star, Tony Hadley, was at the Swinfen Hall Hotel event having recently become a patron of the Lichfield Festival. He thoroughly enjoyed the evening of music, wine and anecdotes.

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Beowulf Diary, 4 July 2017, Toby Young, composer

The oldest surviving poem in Old English, Beowulf is a fantasy saga which has inspired countless retellings of the myth, including Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Armonico Consort’s composer-in-residence Toby Young, who has previously worked with the likes of Duran Duran and The Rolling Stones, has set this touching epic drama to music.

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St Matthew Passion – first rehearsal

St Matthew Passion was the first piece of music I ever truly dismantled as a conductor 15 years ago in an attempt to get under the skin of this incredible work of art. It is now three years since Armonico Consort’s last tour of Bach’s masterpiece, and whilst I have conducted the work countless times, I never fail to feel slightly daunted by the task of bringing it to life for the modern ear.

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