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ArtsWales: Metcalf gives festival a Nordic theme; NORTHERN LIGHTS: Recording by the Finnish Radio Chamber Choir was the key to this year's theme.

Byline: HANNAH JONES Arts & Media Editor

AFTER an exploration of the work of Australian composers in 2001, this year the Vale of Glamorgan Festival moves north.

But this year Metcalf has extended the geographical range and under the auspices of Northern Lights presents composers from Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Iceland and Scotland.

Within this broad theme are a number of fascinating strands, among them the appearance by the Finnish Radio Chamber Choir, truly one of the world's great choirs, who will appropriately give a performance of leading Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara's Vigilia.

This all-night vigil of a performance in memory of St John the Baptist is, in effect, an epic choral tapestry some 70 minutes in length which is presented in two parts.

A successful innovation last year was to have a resident ensemble and the feature is retained this year with the leading contemporary players who make up London-based Chamber Domaine.

Metcalf, a coveted composer in his own right whose recent works include the lively Marimba Concerto written for Evelyn Glennie and a series of important instrumental pieces, says the 2002we're always supporting work that's already here, and that's part of the challenge'' he says.

``The BBC National Orchestra of Wales are playing, we've commissioned a work for string quartet by the St Asaph-born composer Paul Mealor and Elinor Bennett will play two arrangements of two of Arvo Part's works.

u The Vale of Glamorgan Festival runs from September 6-11Composers featured in the festival

AMONG the composers featured at the festival are the elder statesman of Finnish music Eninojuhani Rautavaara and Magnus Lindberg who has attracted con-siderable attention the UK. Estonia and Latvia are presented through the music of Peteris Vaska, Arvo Part and Erkki-Sven Tuur.

As part of the festival many artists living in the Vale are opening their studios and an exhibition is being mounted at St Donat's Art Centre.

programme is ``adventurous and fascinating'' featuring ``some extraordinary pieces.''

Metcalf, who divides his time between his home near Lampeter and Canada where he is associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre added, ``I suppose some people would ask why there's a Nordic theme this year.

``Well I store music up, a great store once I hear something that I like, and that's what happened this year.

``I heard a recording by the Finnish Radio Chamber Choir in 1998 and remembered it.

``I also knew of the work of Rautavaara which is outstanding so I thought about bringing it to Wales.''

The festival, which has been in existence since 1968 but which started to develop a contemporary programme from 1991, is world renowned for its eclectic themes bring World Music to the Vale.

The programme isn't Welsh, but Metcalf says that he is dedicated in featuring Welsh performers in the mix.

``Whatever the theme of the festival


JOHN METCALF: Has extended the geographical range of the Vale of Glamorgan Festival; Picture: Tony Paradice
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Sep 3, 2002
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