AWF Music Festival

Above: our performance of A Pagoda of Flowers by Amy Woodforde-Finden in St. Thomas a Becket church, Hampsthwaite.

Did you know that a highly successful composer of the late Victorian and Edwardian eras, Amy Woodforde-Finden, was laid to rest in one of our Benefice villages? Amy is buried in the churchyard of St Thomas à Becket Parish Church, Hampsthwaite,  where you can also find an impressive marble monument of her created by the renowned sculptor George Wade. TO READ MORE ABOUT AMY, HER MUSIC AND THE FESTIVAL, VISIT THE HAMPSTHWAITE VILLAGE WEBPAGE BY CLICKING HERE

To celebrate this we put on an inaugural music festival in Hampsthwaite to honour our area’s links with Amy Woodforde-Finden. Amy’s association with the village of Hampsthwaite came through her stepson, Eric, who, because he was disabled, came to live in the village in the care of the local doctor. When Eric died in 1913, he was buried in the churchyard. His father, Amy’s husband, is also buried here.

Amy is best known for her set of Indian Love Lyrics. Indeed, Kashmiri Song from Indian Love Lyrics, proved an instant and lasting hit and became one of the highest selling pieces of sheet music ever published! Amy’s music perfectly captured the mood and morals of the time, and in recent years, her works have enjoyed a new appreciation, due to a revival and interest in neglected female composers.

On Friday 7th October 2022, we had the pleasure of listening to a recital by Patricia Hammond, a renowned soloist from London, who specialises in women composers of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Then on Saturday 8th October, there was a second concert of Amy Woodforde-Finden’s music, involving singers from across our benefice and local schoolchildren, together with soloists and other musicians from the wider area. Part of this concert included a semi-staged performance of Pagoda of Flowers, which was recorded, we believe for the very first time.

The Festival ran over two nights and featured many soloists, musicians and backstage talent of all ages from within our own Benefice. We were delighted to be welcoming special guests from within the wider local area and further afield. It truly was the most spectacular weekend of music, art and celebration. 

Programme for Friday 7th:
Three Mexican Songs
A Chrystal Heart
Five little Japanese Songs
Willow Wand
Golden Hours (four songs)
Indian Love Lyric (four songs)
A Request
Lover in Damascus (six songs)
How softly runs the Afternoon
Stars of the Desert (four songs)

Mezzo-soprano: Patricia Hammond
Patricia, a Canadian-born mezzo-soprano, has made a name for herself in the UK and Europe, appearing as a soloist with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under Sir Simon Rattle and Ivan Fischer. But Patricia’s primary joy is in the intimate world of recital work, reviving lesser-known Victorian and Edwardian music. Her CDs of French Salon song (2003) and “Songs of the Great War” (2016) have been played on BBC Radio 3 and 4, and led to her appearance at the hundredth anniversary of the end of the First World War at the Berlin Bundestag, televised live throughout Europe. Her recent book and CD “She Wrote the Songs”, with its chapter on Amy Woodforde-Finden, has been commended by BBC Music Magazine and featured on Women’s Hour.

Programme for Saturday 8th:

11:00 am Guided tour of Amy’s Hampsthwaite
Meeting point: Old Vicarage | Tour guide: Gina Crowther

7.30pm Concert
Corona Valse
Flute: Sophie Bartlett
Recorder: Beth Wickenden

A Dream of Egypt (six songs)
Baritone: Iain Ward-Campbell
Indian Love Lyrics (four songs)
Baritone: Ian Thompson-Smith
The Pagoda of Flowers
Soloists: Tilly Eustace-Forrest, Alistair Donaghue, Maisie Havery, Leslie Leigh, Rhiannon Gayle, Sophie Bartlett and Iain Ward-Campbell
Extras: Bea Eustace-Forrest

Pianist, Director of Music & Festival Founder: Thomas Flessenkaemper
Renowned for his fine musicianship, the mastermind behind this festival, Thomas Flessenkaemper is widely respected as a classical composer and pianist. He has regularly performed recitals as a soloist and accompanist in Germany, the UK and China. After living in China for several years, Thomas settled in the UK and devoted himself to composing alongside his appointment as director of music.