With a musical tradition as long and rich as ours, it may seems strange to say that our classical tradition is often overlooked.

But while the big hitting composers get a decent airing, there is a vast body of music beyond Britten, Holst, Vaughan Williams and Elgar, which does not get the recognition it deserves. And that’s where the English Music Festival comes in.

Based at Dorchester Abbey, and with concerts also taking place at Radley College and Sutton Courtenay Church, it boasts an impressive programme of music by English composers, performed between tomorrow and Monday, by top flight musicians from around the world – with world premieres and orchestral, choral and chamber music gems.

Launching the festival at Dorchester will be the BBC Concert Orchestra under conductor Martin Yates, which will perform a programme of world première performances of works by Lord Berners and Stanford, Robin Milford’s Symphony and Vaughan Williams’s The Blue Bird, alongside pieces by Delius and Arnold.

Oxford Mail:

Treasures of the English choral repertoire are represented in two programmes featuring works by Charles Wood, Stanford, John Ireland, Howells, Parry and Vaughan Williams, Dyson, Finzi, Holst and Howells, performed by the Chapel Choir of Worcester College, Oxford, and the Godwine Choir, along with the Holst Orchestra, under Hilary Davan Wetton.

Intimate chamber recitals featuring works of transformative beauty include song cycles by Herbert Howells, John Ireland, Gerald Finzi and Ian Venables, performed by acclaimed Indian tenor, Anando Mukerjee and Pavel Timofeyevsky.

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Venables’s Venetian Songs are based on words by the Victorian author and critic, John Addington Symonds, and include The Invitation to the Gondola; the author’s wistful evocation of Venice as ‘a city seen in dreams’.

Soprano Sara Stowe with Sam Brown and Matthew Spring, will present songs and duets from the 17th century by John Dowland and John Daniel, performed on lute and viola da gamba.

Piano duet Lynn Arnold and Charles Matthews will perform York Bowen, William Alwyn, Delius, Bliss and Donald Tovey, while the acclaimed Piatti String Quartet – prizewinner of the Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition – perform Elgar, Britten, Bridge and Walton.

Contemporary music is represented by Israeli-French-British composer Nimrod Borenstein and a new work composed by David Matthews, featuring violinist Rupert Marshall-Luck and the celebrated German pianist, Michael Korstick.

Oxford Mail:

Also look forward to a performance of Elgar’s Violin Sonata using a new urtext edition from G Henle Verlag, stripping back the editorial layers and errors that found their ways into the hitherto published versions, creating a fresh new version that is true to Elgar’s intentions.

A performance of Paul C arr’s Stabat Mater coincides with the première recording performed by the English Arts Chorale on the Festival’s own record label, EM Records.

In a change of pace, the New Foxtrot Serenaders will perform tunes from The Great British Songbook of the 1920s to the 60s.

Poetry is also featured, with a recital by actor Lance Pierson in conjunction with festival director Em Marshall-Luck, on the theme of composers and music in poetry, and musical poems.

The Chamber Ensemble of London under Director, Peter Fisher, brings the festival to a close with string works by Bainton, Delius, Alwyn, Ireland, Finzi and Vaughan Williams.

“The annual English Music Festival celebrates the brilliance, innovation, beauty and rich musical heritage of Britain with a strong focus on unearthing overlooked or forgotten masterpieces of the late 19th to mid-20h century,” says Em Marshall-Luck.

Oxford Mail:

“With further expansions into new areas a now-regular autumn series in Yorkshire and a burgeoning CD catalogue at nearly 60 titles, the EMF is going from strength to strength and we are looking forward to returning to Dorchester Abbey for our 13th main event. I can’t wait to hear, for the first time, Stanford’s early Violin Concerto in D, Vaughan Williams’s The Blue Bird, Milford’s Symphony, and a rival version to Walton’s Portsmouth Point, by Lord Berners.

“Highlights for me will also be the commission from composer David Matthews, hearing a truly authentic version of Elgar’s Violin Sonata, and our ever-popular concert from conductor Hilary Davan Wetton, the youthful and exuberant Godwine Choir and Holst Orchestra. I am also looking forward to the return visit by the wonderful boys of Worcester College Chapel Choir, which forms part of our educational project, with children from local state schools invited to join in the rehearsals.”

* The English Music Festival takes place at Dorchester Abbey, Radley College and All Saints, Sutton Courtenay from tomorrow (Friday) to Monday. Details from englishmusicfestival.org.uk