Wesley Centre
Wesley Centre

Harrogate composer to feature in Wesley Centre concert

25 June 2021

The next lunchtime concert at the Wesley Centre on Monday 5 July 2021 is a piano recital by Mark Bebbington.

Mark Bebbington has a well-deserved reputation as an advocate for British music. His 30 discs of British music have received international acclaim and notably his recent cycles of Frank Bridge, John Ireland and Vaughan Williams attracted nine consecutive 5-star reviews in BBC Music Magazine.  His programme features music by five British composers, Ivor Gurney, John Ireland, William Alwyn, Robert Mattthew-Walker and, by special request, former Harrogate resident Ernest Farrar.

Ernest Farrar was born in Lewisham in 1885 but grew up in Micklefield where his father was vicar. He went to Leeds Grammar School and then the Royal College of Music where he had a distinguished career and was highly regarded by his contemporaries. He became friendly with Frank Bridge who dedicated his only piano sonata to him following his early death. His first job was as church organist in South Shields in 1910.

Two years later he moved to Harrogate as organist and choirmaster at Christ Church. As in South Shields he was actively involved in the music making in the town and, as a teacher, numbered the young Gerald Finzi among his pupils.

He volunteered for the army in late 1915 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant.  Sent to France in September 1918  he was killed two days later, leading his men in thebattle of Epéhy Ronssoy.

Ernest Farrar was a prolific composer during his short professional career. Much of his work remained unpublished at his death and was subsequently lost. For many years he was dismissed as a talentedprovincial musician but advocates such as Mark Bebbington who will be performing his Three Pieces op 23 of 1916 and Valse Caprice of 1913  have shown he was a more substantial composer.

Tickets (reserved only at £10) can be obtained from Andrew Hitchen, 01423 883618 or a.hitchen81@gmail.com

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