Events

Be in beautiful Beverley this autumn for eight exceptional concerts – all within the exquisite medieval surroundings of St Mary’s Church – two talks, a world premiere, a pizza supper, plus a performance by the members of the East Riding Youth Orchestra in the Minster.  We hope that you enjoy perusing the events below, and we look forward to welcoming you to this sparkling festival in the heart of the East Riding of Yorkshire.

Day one: Wednesday 25th September

Morning event

Schools’ Concert

  • Beverley Minster
  • Weds 25th Sept 2019
  • 10am - 11am
  • Only open to children & staff from invited schools

Martin Roscoe & Libby Burgess (piano duet)

Co-Artistic Directors Martin Roscoe and Libby Burgess launch this year’s festival with a piano duet extravaganza for children from local primary schools, taking them on a whirlwind journey from suave France to foot-stamping Hungary, from the plains of the Wild West to the sundrenched Mediterranean – and, of course, representing our two festival themes, drawing in music from the Steppes and from our own beautiful English countryside.

Friends’ reception

  • Beverley Minster
  • Weds 25th Sept 2019
  • 10am - 11am
  • Only open to children & staff from invited schools

Become a Friend of BCMF: help sustain and nurture one of the cultural treasures of the region. This community provides vital support, enabling the festival to flourish. A convivial drinks’ reception in the centre of Beverley is a chance for Friends of BCMF to meet some of the artists and share excitement about the days ahead.

Opening concert

Notturno

  • St Mary’s Church
  • Weds 25th Sept 2019
  • 7:30pm
  • £20 / £16

Brodsky Quartet • Martin Roscoe (piano)

Shostakovich: String Quartet No 7 in F sharp minor Op 108
Borodin: String Quartet No 2 in D major
Elgar: Piano Quintet in A minor Op 84

The Brodsky Quartet are widely considered to be one of the outstanding quartets of our time. Our exploration of Russian music begins with two pillars of that country’s musical history – Borodin, one of the 19th-century group known as ‘The Mighty Handful’, dedicated to producing a uniquely Russian kind of Romantic music, and Shostakovich, one of the most musically and politically fascinating figures of the 20th century. Both works tonight were inspired by wives: the shortest of Shostakovich’s quartets – ascerbic and impactful – was written in memory of his first wife, while Borodin’s tuneful second quartet – whose Notturno is one of the most beautiful slow movement melodies in the repertoire – was an anniversary present.

Marking their recent release together of the work on Chandos, the Brodsky Quartet joins Martin Roscoe in Elgar’s Piano Quintet. By turns ghostly and passionate, tumultuous and devastatingly beautiful, the work is the first of his three chamber pieces we explore across the festival; all were written in the summer of 1918, whilst staying at Brinkwells, the cottage secured in Sussex by Elgar’s wife, in the hope of providing him with inspiration and recuperation. All three works are indubitably inspired by the woodland surroundings there at Fittleworth, and the quintet in particular captures the complex twist of emotions faced not only by Elgar but by the British people at large at this pivotal moment in history: it is full of grandiosity and pride in places, jovial and carefree in others, uncertain and indeed bereft, and quite heartrendingly nostalgic.

Day two: Thursday 26th September

Talk

Testament – The life & world of Dmitri Shostakovich

  • Toll Gavel United Church
  • Thur 26th Sept 2019
  • 10:30am - 11:30am
  • Free - just turn up

Marina Frolova-Walker (speaker)

Enigmatic, and a musical chameleon, Shostakovich had an intensely personal musical soul, yet spent most of his life trying to keep on the right side of the Soviet government and its censorship – a psychological challenge that took its toll. Marina Frolova-Walker contextualises this remarkable character, and explores particularly the major works we hear this week – the piano quintet, the viola sonata, and the seventh string quartet.

Born and educated in Moscow, Marina Frolova-Walker is Professor of Music History and Director of Studies in Music at Clare College, Cambridge; she specialises in Russian and Soviet music, on which subject she has authored several books and is regularly interviewed for radio and television.

Lunchtime concert

Prelude & Fugue

  • St Mary’s Church
  • Thurs 26th Sept 2019
  • 1pm - 2pm
  • £10 / £8

Brodsky Quartet • Libby Burgess (piano)

Bach: Prelude & Fugue in F sharp major BWV 858
Bach: Prelude & Fugue in Eb minor BWV 853
Shostakovich arr. Cassidy: Prelude in Db & Ab Op 87
Shostakovich: Piano Quintet in G minor Op 57

Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet came hard on the heels of his opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, criticised by Communist Party hardliners for its excessive modernism; in order to fulfil the Party’s demands of clarity, directness and rigour, this work instead actively turns to older music, taking its inspiration from the counterpoint of Bach. The result is one of the great chamber works in the repertoire, open-hearted and relatable; however, the biting harmonic language and emotional power of this piece set it apart from mere pastiche, the mixture of lyrical intensity and comic satire showing that it is all Shostakovich.

Setting up the quintet we hear preludes and fugues from Bach’s own Well-Tempered Clavier – one of the supreme artefacts of Western culture, its philosophical beauty an eternal inspiration – as well as two Shostakovich preludes, written in answer to that monumental work, and here arranged for strings.

Evening concert

The Cello’s Voice

  • St Mary’s Church
  • Thurs 26th Sept 2019
  • 7:30pm - 9:30pm
  • £20 / £16

Laura van der Heijden (cello) • Libby Burgess (piano)

Schnittke: Suite in the Old Style Op 80
Poulenc: Sonata for cello & piano FP 143
Rachmaninov: Sonata in G minor for cello and piano Op 19

Winner of the 2012 BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition, Laura van der Heijden has continued to impress critics and audiences, most recently with her debut disc of Russian repertoire, ‘1948’, which won an Edison Classical Award as well as Newcomer of the Year at the BBC Music Magazine Awards.

Rachmaninov’s passionate sonata takes centre stage in this programme, showing the composer’s glorious gift for melody perhaps more tirelessly than any other of his works, as well as his exhilarating virtuosity. Written in 1901, shortly after his second piano concerto, the sonata is inextricably linked to his recent struggle back to health following a nervous breakdown: turbulence, heartbreak, and the ultimate release of triumph and beauty are all in evidence.

Poulenc, too, was a melodist through and through, and the cavatine from the sonata for cello and piano is luminous and heartfelt. By contrast the outer movements display an exuberance and humour; the two sides of the composer’s personality were described by a contemporary critic as ‘the monk and the rascal’.

Whilst much of Schnittke’s music is considered relatively experimental and complex, he was also fascinated by music of the past, and this charming suite – collating movements he’d written for film scores – is written beautifully in the style of the baroque.

Day three: Friday 27th September

Lunchtime concert

Godiva

  • St Mary’s Church
  • Fri 27th Sept 2019
  • 1pm - 2pm
  • £10 / £8

Kitty Whately (mezzo-soprano) • Sarah-Jane Bradley (viola) • Libby Burgess (piano)

Brahms: Two songs for voice, viola & piano Op 91
C Schumann: Sie liebten sich beide; Ihr Bildnis; Lorelei
Bridge: Three songs for voice, viola & piano
Bridge: Adoration
Clarke: The Seal Man; Lethe
Weir: Song of a girl ravished away by the fairies in South Uist
Hall: Godiva – monodrama for mezzo-soprano & piano on a libretto by Caitlin Vincent (*world premiere*)

Chamber music meets storytelling in this journey woven through tales of folklore and love, featuring former BBC New Generation Artist Kitty Whately and Libby Burgess.

Rebecca Clarke’s haunting music has in recent years begun to achieve the recognition it deserves: her spine-chilling Seal Man and eerie Lethe amply demonstrate why. Judith Weir, Master of the Queen’s Music, displays her Scottish heritage in the folk-infused setting of the Gaelic Song of a girl ravished away by the fairies in South Uist.

American composer Juliana Hall is a prolific composer of vocal music,
whose songs have been described as “brilliant” (Washington Post) and “beguiling” (Times); we are honoured to be presenting the premiere of her monodrama for mezzo-soprano and piano, Godiva. Outstanding violist Sarah-Jane Bradley joins for impassioned and richly rewarding songs by Bridge and Brahms, while Clara Schumann’s Lieder gems are represented in this her 200th anniversary year.

Talk

‘Written on the skies’ – Elgar’s late chamber works

  • St Mary’s Church Hall
  • Fri 27th Sept 2019
  • 5pm - 6pm
  • Free - just turn up

Katy Hamilton (speaker)

Katy Hamilton – who was a hit with New Paths audiences in 2016 and 2017 – is fast becoming one of the UK’s most sought-after speakers on music, providing talks for the BBC Proms, and appearing as a frequent contributor on BBC Radio 3’s Record Review.

Katy explores Elgar’s Violin Sonata, String Quartet and Piano Quintet, three of his best-loved chamber works. Discover more about these rich, sometimes unsettling pieces through the words of the violinist WH Reed – who was involved in the premieres of all three – and the critic and playwright George Bernard Shaw.

Katy Hamilton speaker

Festival meal

Buon appetito!

  • Pizza Express
  • Fri 27th Sept 2019
  • 6pm - 7:15pm
  • Pre-booking essential

Beverley’s branch of Pizza Express is surely one of the most friendly in the land – and with its pictures of the Minster’s musical minstrels, where more appropriate to enjoy a sociable meal with other festivalgoers between the pre-concert talk and the evening concert?

Pizza Express caters for special dietary requirements: check their menu at www.pizzaexpress.com. Join our group on the ground floor by reserving a place through our box office (not the restaurant). Simply pay menu prices directly to the restaurant on the night.

Evening concert

Captured Sunshine

  • St Mary’s Church
  • Fri 27th Sept 2019
  • 7:30pm - 9:30pm
  • £20 / £16

Brodsky Quartet • Laura van der Heijden (cello)

Boccherini: String Quintet in C Major Op 30 No 6 ‘La musica notturna delle strade di Madrid’
Elgar: String Quartet in E minor Op 83
Schubert: String Quintet in C major D956

For the final concert of their residency at the festival, the Brodskys are joined by cellist Laura van der Heijden for two quintets, both in the radiant key of C major. Boccherini – himself a virtuoso cellist – wrote optimistic music full of rococo charm and lightness; this short quintet depicts a bustling night-time street scene in Madrid, with popular dances and street songs, church bells and soldier’s drums, and finally the curfew drawing the night to a close.

Meanwhile Schubert’s Quintet, written in the final year of his life, is epic and profound, its sublime, poignant slow movement in particular making full use of the rich sonority of the two cellos. A constant marbling of light and shade, devastating beauty and frightening drama, this work is widely considered one of the greatest pieces of chamber music ever written.

Elgar’s string quartet was dedicated to the original Brodsky Quartet; it was the first of the three chamber works that he tackled in 1918 in the peaceful surroundings of Brinkwells, the country cottage that Lady Elgar had found for them in the depth of the Sussex countryside, and the music is infused with the spirit of the woodlands. A brooding and beautiful piece, Lady Elgar likened the final movement to the ‘galloping of stallions’, and the slow movement to ‘captured sunshine’.

Late-night concert

Captured Moonlight

  • St Mary’s Church
  • Fri 27th Sept 2019
  • 10pm - 11pm
  • £8 / £5

Sarah-Jane Bradley (viola) • Martin Roscoe (piano)

Beethoven: Piano Sonata No 14 in C sharp minor Op 27 No 2 ‘Moonlight’
Shostakovich: Sonata for Viola and Piano Op 147

The starry ceiling of St Mary’s provides an apt backdrop for a late-night moonlit programme.

Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight’ Sonata is one of the most famous of all pieces of classical music, with good reason: its somber hypnotic slow movement is powerfully evocative, offset by the virtuosic fireworks of the final movement. Martin Roscoe is in the process of recording the complete Beethoven piano sonatas for the Deux-Elles label, with the initial discs having been released to unanimous critical acclaim.

Shostakovich’s bleak viola sonata is his final work, written deep in the knowledge of his own mortality, only weeks before he died of cancer.
In it he quotes Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, as well as all fifteen of
his own symphonies, in sequence. This final summation of his life’s work completed, the clouds clear, and the piece ends in powerful, beautiful transcendental resolution. A profoundly spiritual and atmospheric work, what better setting can be found than the timeless architectural beauty of St Mary’s.

Day four: Saturday 28th September

Lunchtime concert

Firebox

  • St Mary’s Church
  • Sat 28th Sept 2019
  • 1pm - 2pm
  • £10 / £8

Onyx Brass

Rameau: ‘Entrée de Polymnie’ from Les Boréades
Couperin: Ordre 6ème de Clavecin (extracts)
Bach: Chromatic Fugue
Bach: Nun komm der Heiden Heiland
Tallis: Hymn Tune
Jackson: Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis
Jackson: Anything But
Brahms: Intermezzo Op 118
Rebello: Inevitable Outcome
Skinner: Firebox

Hailed by BBC Music Magazine as “easily the classiest brass ensemble in Britain”, Onyx Brass here present a wonderfully diverse programme spanning over 300 years, from the intricate counterpoint of Bach and the timeless quality of Tallis, to the luscious textures of Brahms and the jazz music of Jason Rebello.

Yorkshire is the home of brass music; escape from the hustle and bustle of Saturday Market and join us for a celebration of this most glorious sonority.

Afternoon event

Inspire!

  • Beverley Minster
  • Sat 28th Sept 2019
  • 4pm - 4:30pm
  • Free - just turn up

The East Riding Youth Orchestra’s string players are spending Saturday in workshops with New Paths tutors – a day of team-building and confidence in musical communication for the beginning of the new academic year. Come and hear their short chamber orchestra performance at the conclusion of the day.

The founding fathers of the festival had deep connections with ERYO, through whose ranks thousands of young musicians have passed over the decades. We are proud to be showcasing this cherished local ensemble in the magnificent ambience of the Minster.

Closing concert

The Lark Ascending

  • St Mary’s Church
  • Sat 27th Sept 2019
  • 7:30pm - 9:30pm
  • £20 / £16

Jennifer Pike (violin) • Martin Roscoe (piano)

Mozart: Sonata in G K301
Elgar: Violin Sonata in E minor Op 82
Clara Schumann: Three Romances Op 22
Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending
Rózsa: Variations on a Hungarian Peasant Song Op 4

Since shooting to fame as the youngest ever winner of BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2002, Jennifer Pike has taken the musical world by storm and is in demand as a soloist and recitalist all over the world. She joins Martin Roscoe in a glorious musical tour of Europe: from the sunny elegance of early Mozart and the warm lyricism of Clara Schumann (in her 200th anniversary year), to the foot-stamping virtuosity of Rózsa’s peasant variations.

We return to English soil with works written at either end of the First World War: Elgar’s passionate violin sonata, the final stop in our survey of his chamber works, and Vaughan Williams’ ever-popular The Lark Ascending, in its original version for violin and piano.