Snape Maltings

Crikey, what a beautiful venue. Our son was in a schools celebrations concert last night and despite being fairly local I’ve never been to a gig there. Many on here been? Seems mainly a classical venue but I see Giles Peterson is there next week.

I have never been to Aldeburgh, or to The Maltings at Snape. I woiuld love to go. My sister, who has practically no interest in Britten (or music, more generally) used to visit yearly with friends.

Am I right in remembering that The Maltings had a serious fire some years ago (like Windsor Castle), which almost destroyed the building, but that incredibly hard work by skilled craftspeople brought it back?

Lovely venue and great accoustics - yes mostly classical but in the proms season a smattering of jazz/world/folk although less so in recent years.

The last couple of summers there have been free (but ticketed) short evening gigs in a temporary auditorium set up on the lawn outside the box office entrance. These have been jazz/world/folk and sponsored by the Arts Council - just remember when the sun goes down that east wind coming off the marshes can be chill!

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Yes I believe so, only a couple of years after it opened in the 60’s. Significant further investment came in more recent years developing studios and rehearsal spaces.

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Gosh what a find Lindsay……and what a miss for me would loved to have been there.

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String music, in particular, seems to benefit from the warm but clear Snape Maltings acoustic. There’s a famous recording of English Music for Strings, by the English Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Brittten in the original (pre-fire) hall, which gives a pretty good idea of the sound Britten was after. The recording was by Decca, whose engineers, along with those of the Beeb, were apparently consulted during the construction of the building.



Gary - I saw them at Oxford on that tour, I can remember Mark saying “there should be a law against having such a good time!”

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Lots of classical recordings are made there (those of the Belcea Quartet for instance), and they are all excellent - detailed but warm. I would certainly recommend a visit to Red House, just outside Aldeburgh, Britten’s final home: it feels as if Benjamin Britten (or Peter Pears) only left the week before. And you will probably notice the Quad 33/303 in the lounge…


Before the fire and that’s a long time ago I went to a presentation by Decca Records of their latest recordings. Garrard 301, Decca FFSS etc.
At that time Decca classical produced from their New Malden factory some of the best sounding LPs but with grotty surface noise. They must have chosen the pressings with care as they were almost silent.
Very impressive I must say. The hall is not that large so no Mahler symphonies but with a suitable size orchestra very impressive.
The area is surrounded by reed beds and with a gentle wind very calming.


I have always wanted to go to a concert at Snape Maltings, but haven’t managed it (yet).

Glyndebourne is a very special place for opera. It’s not far from where I live (Brighton), and I have been lucky enough to visit quite a few times. Their Mozart opera performances are very special indeed, and I have seen all the great ones (the three Da Ponte operas, and the wondrous Zauberflœte) performed there. True bucket list stuff for any lover of the divine Wolfgang Amadeus’s greatest works - quite divine!

Goodness only knows how they have coped with Covid over the last few years.

When I retired from a proper job and before I stopped work totally I had a part time job driving 3 opera buffs to Glyndebourne in their new Jaguar, a nice job to be paid for.
As some Wagner operas due to their lengths could start at 2PM some of the audience must have been getting into their glad rags after breakfast. My party would arrive early and have smoked salmon and champagne before the start. A lot of people would arrive with a picnic basket and garden chairs.
Parking was on a grassy bank set back from the main complex and you needed to get lucky to be in the shade in the middle of July. From there you could see how the house had been extended to accommodate the small opera house There is a large tall rectangular box covered in lead to cope with scenery etc. Round the back you could hear the various singers limbering up. Parked close by was the LPO van, often the house orchestra.
The grounds are extensive with a ha-ha beyond which were a flock of sheep.
The great and the good form the audience and well healed would be pretty accurate. This is music making worlds away from the Proms, RFH and even Covent Garden.
Two intervals from memory, the second being a dinner break of about 90 minutes with the restaurant under the cover of Pru Leith at the time. So the opera usually didn’t finish till about 10PM.
Lots of pictures in the brick clad foyer of past conductors.
One of my memorable moments was sitting in the car and the Proms with Mahler’s 9th symphony. When this finished I went across to the foyer and watched the closing part of Tristan and Isolde on one of the large TV screens. A good day out!


How downmarket! I presume the Rolls was in for a service.


Hi PeakMan, going back a few years ago and my memory of the parked cars I don’t recollect that many RRs. Quite a few well presented classics.
Also some well know people you recognised but couldn’t put a name to.

One of these days I must get myself to a performance there. It’s a long way from chez nous, but my brother lives just a few miles away, so I don’t really have any excuse.


Its not a big opera house and a short season. You can become Friends of Glyndebourne which puts you up the pecking order a bit.

One person that I recognised at Glyndebourne a few years ago was Rowan Atkinson.

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