Carlo Maria Giulini was the main visiting celebrity in the years 1961, 1964 and 1967. He conducted performances of Verdi’s Requiem, Stravinsky’s Les Noces, Beethoven’s Ninth and Verdi’s Four Sacred Pieces, Beethoven’s C Major Mass and Rossini’s Stabat Mater and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, all with the Philharmonia or New Philharmonia Orchestra. For the Chorus, he was inspirational.
In 1961, Chorus Director was Herbert Bardgett, with George Stead as Chorus Master of a Huddersfield Section. Festival Organist was Donald Hunt. The programme for this year contained excellent articles by Ernest Bradbury and Neville Cardus, who wrote brilliantly about music and cricket for the Manchester Guardian. This anecdote from the Cardus article bears repetition:
The Chorus performed in Britten’s Cantata Academica as well as his brand-new version of the National Anthem, Bach’s cantata Christians, Grave Ye, Verdi’s Requiem, and Alexander Goehr’s specially commissioned Sutter’s Gold. In the Yorkshire Post, Bradbury complained about the disturbance and heat caused by the arc lights of ABC television at Verdi’s Requiem:
Goehr’s Sutter’s Gold was, according to the Earl of Harewood (writing in 1974)
The 1964 Festival, in April, included films with interesting music and the Chorus now sang under Donald Hunt. Choral works included Verdi’s Four Sacred Pieces and Poulenc’s Gloria. Britten’s War Requiem received excellent notices, and Berlioz’s Grande Messe des Morts was the final concert. The programme, as always, printed each Chorus member’s town of origin after his or her name. In 1967, evening performances included Haydn’s Creation, Berlioz’s Damnation of Faust, Prokofiev’s War and Peace, Janacek’s Diary of a Young Man who Disappeared and the première of Richard Rodney Bennett’s Epithalamion.