2019 festival opens this week
Spring is in full bloom in Beverley and we are overjoyed that the week of the fourth New Paths spring festival has arrived. Welcome to one of the UK’s most exciting young arts festivals in the heart of the East Riding. Join 30 exceptional musicians and festivalgoers from across the country in this beautiful Yorkshire market town this week. In this the final newsletter before the festival we float through the week ahead like the petals of blossom which will be drifting through the streets and alleys of Beverley.
Taking inspiration from Beverley’s artisan bakery, The Bread Shed on Ladygate, we say:
“Give us this day our daily …”
Each day of the festival features a quintet, beginning on Thursday with Vaughan Williams’ ravishing Piano Quintet performed by Martin Roscoe, Eva Thorarindottir, Lena Eckels, Tim Lowe and John Tattersdill.
On Friday we hear Finzi’s gorgeous Interlude for oboe and string quartet featuring oboist James Turnbull, whose beautiful playing is well-known to our audience.
Saturday afternoon’s quintet is Schubert’s effervescent Trout Quintet in Toll Gavel. Our artistic director Libby Burgess is joined by Hannah Dawson, Lena Eckels, Cara Berridge and John Tattersdill for the performance of this great work.
The final quintet of the festival is Howells’ stunning Rhapsodic Quintet performed by clarinettist John Slack. It is the centrepiece of Eternal Source, the second of our free afternoon ‘Moments to Reflect’ – short introspective concerts in each of Beverley’s extraordinary medieval churches, the Minster and St Mary’s. If you’ve never visited these masterpieces of church architecture, next week is an incredible opportunity to do so.
Thanks to generous support from the Herbert Howells Trust we are profiling the music of this wonderful English composer. We hear the elegiac Oboe Sonata in the first of our ‘Moments to Reflect’ – Epilogue, which takes place beside the war memorial chapels of Beverley Minster. Also featured in this free short concert are some preludes by Howells’ friend, Ivor Gurney, who saw out his days in an asylum following the horrors of trench warfare.
Festivalgoers have the opportunity to learn more about Howells – the man and his music – in a free talk by Dr Jonathan Clinch before this performance.
Howells and Gurney were part of a remarkable procession of composers who studied at the Royal College of Music in the decades following its foundation in 1882. The all-English programme of our Saturday morning coffee concert, A Golden Era on Prince Consort Road, includes Howells’ passionate Fantasy Quartet.
Completing our exploration of Howells is Ashley Grote’s performance of the Rhapsody No. 1 in D flat in the festival organ recital. This romantically charged and nostalgic piece is said to have been a musical representation of Howells’ beloved Chosen Hill in Gloucestershire.
One of New Paths’ trademarks is its atmospheric late-night performances, offering some repose after the long days of the festival. This year, the festival falls during the season of Lent and so Rowan Pierce and Helen Charlston perform Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater in the stillness of St John of Beverley Roman Catholic Church.
We also hear a late-night performance of Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time in the Chancel of Beverley Minster.
Night owls can buy a pass to both of these special performances for £10! All tickets to the late-night concerts are likely to be sold before the day of the performance so be wise and buy yours now to avoid disappointment.
April showers are forecast for the week ahead. So bring your brolly and your raincoat! Where better than beautiful Beverley to embrace this British weather phenomenon? Enjoying world-class music in our warm and comfortable venues whilst the rain patters on the windows outside is surely something to savour. Some particularly redolent pieces on the programme to hear whilst the rain falls are Brahms Violin Sonata in G (the ‘Rain Sonata’) and Puccini’s Crisantemi.
At 4.30pm on each day of the festival we hear Schubert’s great song cycles performed by some superb singers, plus the Trout Quintet. On Thursday baritone Marcus Farnsworth sings Winterreise. On Friday tenor Nicholas Mulroy sings Die schöne Müllerin. And on Sunday, we complete this epic journey in song with Jonathan Lemalu’s performance of Schwanengesang, written at the end of Schubert’s life. Join music lovers from around the UK in Beverley this week for this musical odyssey.
Peace be the journey
Beverley has for centuries been a place of pilgrimage and refuge. Two highlights of our journeying theme this year are Quartet for the End of Timeand Notes from Afar. Quartet for the End of Time takes place very close to Beverley Minster’s Anglo Saxon frith stool, one of the few remaining in the country. It will be very moving and apt to hear this redemptive piece of music in this ancient place of sanctuary.
Notes from Afar is inspired by the wayfarer’s lamp in the Priest’s Room at St Mary’s which used to guide travellers across the Westwood. The concert also takes inspiration from St Mary’s famous pilgrim hare. This medieval stone carving with its pilgrim’s satchel is the subject of Stephen McNeff’s new work for oboe, the world premiere of which is taking place at the festival.
The first of our musicians has arrived today, travelling to Beverley from Germany by train. Join us in giving these outstanding musicians a warm welcome as they prepare for the 27 events taking place during the four days of the festival. Bring it on!