Looking back on Spring Day
Much-loved New Paths artist, cellist Cara Berridge, joined Artistic Director Libby Burgess for the first event of the day, opening with Saint-Saëns’ serene Swan, and travelling through birds by Casals and butterflies by Fauré, to sonatas by Debussy (inspired by the moon) and Chopin (influenced by Schubert’s winter journey).
Celebrated writer Kate Wakeling gave a talk about her poetry and her inspirations, focusing especially on writing the new poems for Everything Grows Extravagantly, commissioned by Oxford’s Botanical Gardens – featuring plants ranging from mandrakes to lilies as well as poems in celebration of the sheer love of gardening.
Baritone Marcus Farnsworth returned to Beverley to rejoin Libby Burgess, performing Cheryl Frances-Hoad’s acclaimed setting of Wakeling’s new texts, as well as songs by Finzi, Quilter, Roussel, Tosti and CSchumann, digging further into the world of trees and flowers.
The candlelit Chancel of St Mary’s provided a magical backdrop for the final event of the day, a thrilling rendition of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, starring Alexandra Caldon. In the words of one audience member, “I have to say that last night’s performance is the one by which all others will be judged – and probably found wanting. The visible joy in Alexandra’s delivery, shared by all of the musicians, lit up the quire of St Mary’s and the audience in it. We were both tired at the end of a long week, but were lifted into joyous rapture by the Spring Day finale.”