Liberation Festival 10th Anniversary attended by thousands

The 10th Liberation International Music Festival ended with a flourish with an encore by the Kosmos Ensemble with the Jersey Chamber Orchestra after a new commission called Triple Concerto by Errollyn Wallen MBE for the trio Kosmos and orchestra.   

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The Festival was a tremendous triumph from start to finish.  From the opening at a Musical Walk around the wartime bunkers at Corbiere, to the educational outreach events, to evening concerts, thousands of people attended and gave plaudits to the musicians.  

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The Musical Walk was the first time that music had been played in the bunkers at Corbiere since the sounds of a gramophone during the occupation by the German soldiers.  The walk explored the headland overlooking Corbiere Lighthouse which features a series of interlocking bunkers built to guard both bays to the North and East. Starting at Corbiere Phare, and led by Blue badge guide Ned Malet de Cateret, around 80 walkers were serenaded by brass band Five Brass Souls. After visiting the slipway to Corbiere lighthouse, they descended into the atmospheric bunkers across the headland where they heard Bach from violinist Harriet Mackenzie and cellist Dora Kokas before retiring to the nearby restaurant for a well deserved rest.

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The walk was followed by an unforgettable evening concert featuring Dora Kokas playing Kodaly's cello sonata and Bach's cello suite in C.  The M19 Mortar Bunker is about 50 m long and with exits at both ends, the sound was like a pure shot of caffeine shooting through each of the audience members carrying perfectly to the end of the tunnel and then disappearing without any substantial echo.  The fine playing was applauded strongly by the audience before Dora was joined by violinist Harriet Mackenzie for a well received encore of the Handel Passacaglia.       

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Soon after the Festival saw the arrival of celebrated players including violinist Boris Brovtsyn, violists Jennifer Stumm and Simone Van Giessen, cellist Christian Pierre La Marca at the invitation of violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky.  A vibrant concert was performed on Saturday 12th May at Jersey Opera House featuring the Brahms Sextet in Bb major and Mendelssohn's Octet for strings sponsored by UBS Wealth Management.  Compered by actress Cathy Sara the event also featured texts from the occupation highlighting the perils of living in the island in this turbulent period.  The diary of Thelma Richercoeur was read by young student Madeleine Byrne telling of the bombing of St Helier and her persuading Field Marshall Montgomery to grant the children a bank holiday which is still followed today.   The concert concluded with a rendition of Happy Birthday to mark the Festival's 10th anniversary.

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