Interior of St John's Co-Cathedral
Malta Philharmonic Orchestra
© Darren Agius
The Musicians, Caravaggio, 1597
Marsaxlokk fishing village
Enjoy the superb playing of leading lights of the early music movement, including harpsichordist Andrea Buccarella and Erik Bosgraaf, the extraordinary virtuoso recorder player
Join Malta’s own Philharmonic Orchestra in a concert of Bach Keyboard Concertos featuring the island’s finest musicians
Delve into Malta’s fascinating history with a visit to the island of Gozo, inhabited for thousands of years
“This was an extremely well organised and interesting holiday, combining great music with highly informative lectures and visits to many historic sites”
- ACE customer on a previous Valletta Baroque Festival tour led by Ashley Solomon
Valletta has for several years offered a magnificent annual festival celebrating some of the finest Baroque music in the world. Our festival tour will encompass not only performances by world-class musicians, but we will also gain an insight into the vibrant history of a country with foundations stretching back to some of the world’s oldest civilisations.
Our tour begins with a concert by the Abchordis Ensemble featuring soprano Maria Grazia Schiavo in the Baroque jewel of St Catherine, Żurrieq, whose walls are adorned with the paintings of 17th century artist Mattia Preti. The ensemble are known for their exuberant playing and meticulous research of Italian masterpieces of the Baroque, and in particular the Neapolitan tradition.
At our second concert we will enjoy the virtuoso playing of harpsichordist Andrea Buccarella, who will entrance us with a programme of Toccata and Fantasia in the stunning setting of the 16th century Verdala Palace, official summer residence of the President of Malta. The multiple award-winning keyboard player is one of the leading lights of the early music scene and his album Toccata received a five-star review from BBC Music Magazine.
By contrast, we will experience an arrangement of Bach’s Goldberg Variations in an arrangement for the wind soloists of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra at the Casino Maltese, now a private club but formerly the Treasury of the Order of St John. Moving to the Malta Maritime Museum, which previously housed the Royal Naval Bakery, we will take pleasure in a feast for the soul as Erik Bosgraaf presents a programme enchantingly titled Picking Flowers in the Recorder’s Garden of Delights.
Our musical odyssey concludes in style with a concert of Bach Keyboard Concertos (BWV 1057, 1058 & 1060), performed by the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, followed by a recital at Lapsi Church, St Julian’s, with an arrangement of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons for Harp performed by Keziah Thomas. This favourite work is given new life by the UK harpist, whose Carnegie Hall debut was described as “stupendous… totally original and engaging” (New York Concert Review).
As well as enjoying the music, we will explore the ancient history of Valletta with its prehistoric temples and walled city of Victoria on the island of Gozo. Meanwhile, the island’s Roman heritage is presented in Rabat’s Domus Romana Museum. We will also make a visit to the Casa Rocca Piccola; built in 1580, this resplendent palace is home to one of the most beautiful private collections of Maltese lace in the city.
We will stay throughout at Valletta’s five-star Grand Hotel Excelsior, located a short walk from the major visits on our tour. This elegant property, occupying a building surrounded by 16th century fortifications, overlooks Marsamxett Harbour and Fort Manoel.
This tour will be led by Ashley Solomon, HonRCM, ARAM, Chair and Head of Historical Performance at London’s Royal College of Music and Director of the Baroque ensemble Florilegium. In 2008, as a result of his work editing and performing music from the Mission Churches of Chiquitos and Moxos Indians in Bolivia, Ashley was the first European to be awarded the coveted Hans Roth Prize. He has performed at the Valletta Festival several times in the past and is delighted to be returning with a group in 2024.
Tour Director Ashley Solomon writes:
“Join me in January for a week of Baroque music, delicious food, great architecture, masterpieces by Mattia Preti and Caravaggio and visits to the Neolithic temples on Gozo – there is so much to enjoy!”
To hear a recording of a performance of Toccata in D Major by talented harpsichordist Andrea Buccarella listen to the video below:
Fully booked - please contact us on 01223 841055 to be added to the waiting list.
Included: return airfare, accommodation based on sharing a deluxe inland twin or double bedded room, performances as described, six breakfasts, two light lunches, six dinners with wine, water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities & all taxes.
Not Included: travel insurance, deluxe inland double room for single use supplement £280.