A welcome message from Lord Salisbury

One of the most satisfying features of life at Hatfield House over the last few years has been the growth of our Chamber Music Festival. It is now an established part of our annual programme of events. Hatfield’s builder, Robert, 1st Earl of Salisbury, loved music, a passion which formed an integral part of his life. Guy Johnston and his friends have therefore revived a musical tradition which Salisbury, before his premature death in 1612, had planned to make an equally integral part of the House’s own day to day existence.

Over the last eight years we have been lucky enough to hear performances of superlative quality from distinguished musicians, many of whom have been kind enough to return often. Guy’s idea of giving each year a theme has endowed the programmes with a pleasing coherence and introduced many of us to aspects of composers and national traditions we had not previously come across. Equally, as the Festival’s ambitions have grown, he has begun to explore how the Festival could increase its contribution to musical education locally in Hertfordshire. It is a great tribute to Guy’s commitment to the Festival that he still guides its development from across the Atlantic.

In view of the Festival’s success, it has been doubly disappointing that we have had to cancel it this year, although, with typical determination, some of our regulars are planning to put on performances this October using the wonders of technology. I hope, if they succeed, that, like me, you will be part of their audience: I suspect that many of us have felt ever more strongly during these surreal times how important are matters spiritual and cultural to the human spirit.

Thanks to our determined Chairman, Stuart Lewis, and his Board and to Lucy Bending and her band of helpers, we can look forward to a Festival in 2021 which will be as absorbing and as well-attended as ever. I look forward to seeing you all at Hatfield then.

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