A musical study in time

In one month, calendar pages will be turned to April and the fourth New Paths spring festival will be in full swing, enravishing Beverley with performances – through the day and night – by 30 exceptional musicians. Be transported to that beautiful Yorkshire market town as we share some of the delights of this ‘musical book of hours’.

Time stands still

With almost 30 events crammed into the long weekend, the festival is full-on! And so the programme includes two ‘Moments to Reflect’: Epilogue, and Eternal Source.  These short, free performances in tranquil spaces offer a time of peace.  The sublime music at these bite-sized events includes two extraordinary pieces by Hebert Howells, whose chamber music we are proud to feature at the festival this year with support from The Herbert Howells Trust.  His Oboe Sonata and Rhapsodic Quintet have an elegiac quality which reminds us that music offers a time to heal, a time to mourn and a time to keep silence.

About Time

A highlight of the festival is sure to be our Saturday gala concert, Night at the Movies, featuring a stunning line-up of a dozen musicians and an array of music featured in films ranging from ‘Shine’ to ‘Truly, Madly, Deeply’.  A moment of stillness in this dazzling event will be Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel(featured in the film ‘About Time’) played by Eva Thorarinsdottir and Martin Roscoe.

Time and tide wait for no man

Eva and Martin also join forces to perform Brahms’ radiant G major Violin Sonata in our Friday morning concert, By the Waters.  This concert is a rare opportunity to hear Howard Skempton’s setting of one of England’s best-loved poems, ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’, performed by renowned baritone Marcus Farnsworth.  Don’t miss the chance to spend time at sea with these wonderful musicians in Beverley this spring.

The End of Time

The first two days of the festival close with atmospheric late-night performances: Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater and Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time.  The Pergolesi is performed by rising stars Rowan Pierce and Helen Charlston in the stillness of St John of Beverley Roman Catholic Church.  And the Messiaen is performed in the astonishingly beautiful Quire of Beverley Minster by artistic director Libby Burgess and a team of festival artists.  Buy a ‘Night Owl Pass’ and come to both of these events for £8.50!

The time of the singing of birds is come

The festival opens with Dawn Chorus, a morning concert inspired by birdsong in music.  The concert profiles recorder player Ian Wilson, who stunned audiences at last year’s festival.  It also includes a hand-picked team of superb string players who form the quartet to perform Haydn’s ‘Lark’ Quartet, Jamie Campbell, Hannah Dawson, Simon Tandree and Cara Berridge.  It is a joy to welcome Hannah to the festival for the first time – she is one of Cara’s colleagues in the Sacconi Quartet!


We are thrilled to announce that jewellers Guest & Philips are our main festival sponsors.  We are incredibly grateful to this family-run local business for its invaluable support of the festival.  Do visit their shops in Saturday Market and Flemingate during the festival and take a look at their range of watches and jewellery.  Spring is a time to love and so if you need to ‘put a ring on it’ look no further.

There is still time for individuals to sponsor concerts and/or artists.  Please do contact us by replying to this email if you’d be interested in dedicating a concert to a loved one or sponsoring a particular artist.


If you have time to swing by the city of Hull on your way to/from the festival, then visit the Wilberforce House Museum in the Old Town.  The Georgian town house gallery within that museum displays some of the region’s finest craftsmanship in silverware, furniture and clocks including a large collection of long case clocks.  Make a pit stop at Skiby Windmill en route, roughly half way between Beverley and Hull.

Stop all the clocks

This week we will be remembering the late Alan Spedding MBE who died on 5thMarch 2014 and to whose memory the festival is dedicated.  A superlative musician, Alan was organist of Beverley Minster for over 40 years and in him “a quiet, easy manner was combined with an irrepressible good humour and a rare capacity for friendship”.  Those words from the Yorkshire Post obituary capture vividly the man who was cherished by so many.  At the heart of the festival is a recital on the Minster’s fine Snetzler organ for which Alan cared for decades.  We’re thrilled to welcome Ashley Grote to Beverley for the organ recital, the programme for which can be viewed here.  Join us to celebrate the organ’s 250th birthday in style.  Ashley is Master of the Music at Norwich Cathedral.  One of his illustrious predecessors in that post was Thomas Morley whose madrigal reminds us of the variable nature of April weather:

April is in my mistress’ face,
And July in her eyes hath place;
Within her bosom is September,
But in her heart a cold December.

Carpe diem

Tickets are still available for most events, but some will sell out soon so don’t delay – buy yours today.

We greatly look forward to welcoming you to the festival next month.

PS We had an enjoyable visit to the BBC studios in Hull last week for an interview about the festival with Sally Fairfax.  You can listen to the interview by clicking the button below.  Roland apologises for the profusion of “fantastic”s!  Although he did slightly better than in his first ever live radio broadcast, in Jersey, in which the only response he could summon up to each and every question directed towards him was “..Indeed…” .