Christmas time at Aldeburgh Music is quite special. Not only does St Nick eschew his reindeer and sleigh for a sedate trip up the river, there are always a host of traditional and not so traditional concerts during the month of December.
Christmas Weekend is when the seasonal fun really starts, with carol concerts, Cathedral choristers and special events for children.
It’s hard to think of Suffolk without considering the wonderful food on offer.
Each year, at FolkEast festival, The Imagined Suffolk Food Village highlights the finest food from local producers. The village is the brainchild of David Grimwood, owner of The Froize near Woodbridge, Suffolk. Of 2015’s village, Grimwood said:
“We have taken some of the best local producers, suppliers and restaurateurs and brought them together as ‘The Imagined Suffolk Food Village’ – to provide a daily changing feast from the bountiful Suffolk larder to stimulate and nourish festival-goers throughout the whole festival. It’s reasonably priced, unpretentious, tasty, amazing local food”.
There are so many stars of the Suffolk food scene that it’s impossible to pick a headliner!
To get to FolkEast and explore the food village, visit the festival’s website.
The Suffolk Coast is full of foodie gems, discover them here.
On 10 June 1878 Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski set foot on English soil for the first time, in Lowestoft, having arrived on the small British steamer Mavis, which he had boarded on 24 April 1878 at Marseilles. At the time he could only speak a few words of English.
Jozef went on to become the first Polish-Ukrainian to gain a Master’s certificate in the British Merchant Marine service. but that isn’t why most of us know his name.
By 1895 his first novel was published, under the Anglicised name Joseph Conrad, and he became one of the most important English language novelists. His career spans 20 novels and countless short stories, including 1899’s Heart of Darkness.
The East was once big in textiles, making this one of the wealthiest, most influential parts of Britain. But by 1565 skills had started to become a problem: Norwich dealt with the issue by inviting thirty Flemish master weavers and their families to move to the city. These – the first of a number – became called The Strangers, and in time grew to become a third of Norwich’s population.
These families were made successful and wealthy by the arrangement, and when Queen Elizabeth I visited Norwich in 1578 she was greeted by a pageant staged by the ‘artizans strangers’. To understand the importance of this to those Strangers, it’s important to know that, in making the move to Norwich, they had also been seeking asylum, escaping religious persecution and a suppressive regime.
For the entire week around the 2015 edition of Aldeburgh Carnival, the Lookout Gallery played host to a sonic and sculptural installation, Sea Trees, where the sea itself became part of the ensemble.
Composer Frances Shelley, sound artist Matthew Bickerton and sculptor Pauline Bickerton undertook a week-long residency at the gallery to create the work.
The movement of the sculptural Sea Trees was wirelessly transmitted into a computer which then generated a live soundscape. In this way, the sculptures became musicians; composers; conductors – entirely at the behest of the elements.
The resulting music is made entirely in the moment: a moment created by the elements and a human’s response to those elements both visually and sonically.
To find out more about the project, visit the Sea Trees website.
Architectural Historian James Bettley took very many years updating Nikolaus Pevsner’s two revered Suffolk guides, and in 2015 they were released – all 1,300 pages of them.
Bettley has brought Pevsner’s seminal guides to Suffolk’s architecture up to date, including modern gems such as Thorington’s Balancing Barn and Ipswich’s Willis building alongside Pevsner’s original study of every building worthy of note in the whole county.
Reviewing, the Telegraph’s Christopher Howse says, “The counties of England implicitly argue in their architecture that our ancestors knew what they were about and that their wisdom is worth preserving. No county makes the argument more convincingly than Suffolk”.
The Paston Treasure was commissioned by Sir Robert Paston in the mid-1670s to show the status, wealth and education of his family.
It is believed that a Dutch artist visiting the Paston family home, Oxnead Hall in Norfolk, painted The Paston Treasure. This is because there are strong Dutch and Flemish still-life influences in the work.
Shortly after this painting was finished, the collection of items was sold because of the Pastons’ falling finances, and the objects were spread around the world again. The nautilus shell is at the Prinsenhof Museum in Delft, and the flask is at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Aylsham, a thriving market town midway between Norwich and the popular Norfolk coast, was one of the founding towns of the British Cittaslow Movement. Cittaslow was founded in Italy, inspired by the Slow Food movement, and celebrates towns that let life, and traffic, flow more tranquilly than has become the norm.
Aylsham takes this seriously – it became plastic bag free eight years ago, and nine years ago built public loos with sedum roofs, sunpipes and waterless urinals. Now twice-weekly markets and a successful annual show continue Aylsham’s proud tradition of celebrating real food, pausing for thought and nurturing the good life. Daniel Defoe stayed here in 1732: he’d probably recognise it still.
You can find out more about the Aylsham show – which usually takes place over the August Bank Holiday – here.
If you absolutely have to get your culture fix today, or if you wake up tomorrow with your mind on music, then you’ll be pleased to hear that every day Aldeburgh Music releases 20 on-the-day Promenader tickets. At just £6.50 they’re part of a great British promenading tradition, at extraordinary value, in one of Britain’s best-loved musical venues.
This year Snape Proms – newly under the direction of ex-BBC Proms Chief Executive Roger Wright – has more orchestras than ever before, outstanding folk musicians, country music and soul singers, contemporary and trad jazz, as well as chamber music, poetry and family events. Thirty events over thirty-one days celebrate music in all its diversity.
Tickets are limited to one per person and can be bought at the Box Office in Snape or Aldeburgh. Find out what’s on at http://www.aldeburgh.co.uk