Gloucester Cathedral

Photography credit: Becky Matthews

Edward Gillespie's tips for the Music Festival

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I was looking forward to this festival more than any of the 30 or so I have attended in the past. There’s a fantastic range of events in equally diverse venues.
Film Music Live with the CBSO was a great starter in the Town Hall. For the vast majority of the British population, it is through film and TV that they encounter and get to love classical music, often without knowing that’s what it is. Mark Kermode and Jim Broadbent came up with a terrific selection to make this an occasion not to be missed.

Cocktail Party Polyphony on the Parabola at 2pm on the first Sunday is exactly what a festival should be presenting. Despite reading the resume several times, I have little or no idea what to expect. Taking a risk for 70 minutes will be a treat.
I will be back at the Parabola on Thursday 11th July for Michelangelo Drawing Blood, including male nudity. A couple of year’s ago there was a production of Mark Anthony Turnage’s Greek which was the outstanding event of that festival. This promises to be a contender for 2013.

Trips to Tewkesbury Abbey and Gloucester Cathedral are likely to be sure-fire winners. I’ll be back at the Parabola on the final Friday to hear Kuniko Kato play Steve Reich, and on Sunday, it will be fascinating to see how Alan Rusbridger gets on with the challenge of playing Chopin’s Ballade No 1. With a life that busy, there is no excuse for the rest of us not following our dream.

These are just a few of the events that are in my diary. Having retired last November, I have time this year to soak up the entire festival experience and to learn a great deal along the way.

The key for me in getting the best out of the festival is not to expect to enjoy every single event equally. The programme is far more accessible than it was 20 years ago. Putting yourself at the mercy of the Festival Director is a rewarding sport and I can’t wait to be taken on that incredible musical journey.