Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1 (selection)
In this, the 300th anniversary year of the publication of Bach’s seminal Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1, Libby Burgess performs that collection across three free early-morning concerts. Libby has been acclaimed for her Project 48, touring this music – Bach’s ‘48’ – to all 48 counties of England, which she started here in Beverley last year. Begin your day with 45 minutes of reflection and inspiration through some of the greatest keyboard music ever written.
“…It is a rediscovery of the world of which I have the joy of being a part. It fills me with awareness of the wonder of life, with a feeling of the incredible marvel of being a human being… That is Bach, like nature, a miracle…” (Casals)
Libby Burgess (piano)
Dohnányi: Piano Quintet
Songs by Fauré, Beach and Mendelssohn
Where better to start a festival than at Opus 1? – a composer’s statement to the world that they have arrived. Opening this programme of Op 1 works, celebrated soprano and much-loved New Paths artist Aoife Miskelly returns to Beverley with sunny songs by Gabriel Fauré, Amy Beach and Fanny Mendelssohn, while the early signs of Elgar’s trademark soulful lyricism are heard in his Romance. Eminent composer Hugh Wood died last year, and his Variations for viola and piano – featuring outstanding violist Rosalind Ventris – are inspired by the music of Schoenberg, in places violent and arresting, and in others tender and loving. Martin Roscoe is admired as a champion of Dohnányi’s music, his recordings of the complete solo piano works universally praised by critics: he joins with the Maxwell Quartet in their debut in Beverley, for the relatively little-heard Piano Quintet. This is a powerful, thrilling, and highly romantic work, much admired by Brahms, who even declared, ‘I could not have written it better myself.’
“…Roscoe is an eloquently expressive advocate for an unduly neglected master of the keyboard…” (The Telegraph on his Dohnányi recordings)
Maxwell Quartet | Aoife Miskelly (soprano) | Libby Burgess (piano) | Martin Roscoe (piano)
Schütz: Cantabo Domino, Ich will den Herren, Der Herr ist gross
Music by Buxtehude, Schein and Froberger
To commemorate the 350th anniversary of the death of Heinrich Schütz, period instrument ensemble Endelienta Baroque have collaborated with tenor David de Winter to create a programme of solo vocal works that reflects the profound influence the composer had on the music of seventeenth-century Germany. Often named as the greatest German composer before Bach, Schütz synthesised Italianate styles with the music of his immediate German predecessors to create a musical language that was well-crafted yet candidly simple, virtuosic yet direct and striking. This programme revels in celebratory, praise-giving sacred vocal works by Schütz and gives voice to his often-neglected contemporaries and immediate successors, exploring the common threads that established Schütz’s legacy as the father of German vocal music. A wonderful sound-world to enjoy in the spectacular setting of Beverley Minster’s Quire.
“…startling dialogue, dramatically sung by David de Winter…” (BBC Music Magazine)
David de Winter (tenor) | Endelienta Baroque
Tonight’s programme features the premiere of a new string quartet by the illustrious composer David Matthews, especially commissioned by New Paths: his is perhaps the most distinguished series of string quartets written in recent times. We are honoured to welcome the composer himself to Beverley, to talk about the new piece, about the process of composing, and about the dedicatee of this work – the late composer Hugh Wood, a profound influence on Matthews. Led by acclaimed speaker Lucy Walker, formerly Director of Public Programming and Learning at the Britten-Pears Foundation, the session will look back on Matthews’ life and career, and on the web of musical figures with whom he has been involved: he is much influenced by Tippett, and worked for several years in Aldeburgh with Britten. David’s brother Colin Matthews was a fascinating speaker here in 2018, and this session is sure to be every bit as illuminating: a special chance to hear a behind-the-scenes view of the music world of the last few decades, and of the real life of a great composer.
“…David Matthews’s purposeful, imaginative and inventive music…” (Gramophone)
David Matthews (speaker) | Lucy Walker (speaker)
Matthews: String Quartet No 16 (world premiere)
Haydn: String Quartet in Bb Op 76 No 4 (‘Sunrise’)
Mendelssohn: Octet in E flat
Prizewinning emerging artists, the Salomé Quartet recently completed their studies at the Royal College of Music and are quickly carving out an impressive reputation. We are thrilled to welcome them to Beverley to premiere David Matthews’ brand new 16th String Quartet – a compact, evocative work from a doyen of the genre, dedicated to his late colleague Hugh Wood, and commissioned by New Paths especially for this festival. Set alongside this new music, we have two works from opposite ends of life – music from Haydn’s maturity, and from Mendelssohn’s teenage years. The ‘Sunrise’ Quartet demonstrates the suave elegance of a great master: free-spirited and perfectly-crafted, the beautiful improvisatory sunrise giving way to the radiant joy of day. The two quartets featured in this festival, Salomés and Maxwells, join together for a performance of Mendelssohn’s much-loved Octet, written at the extraordinary age of sixteen. The fulsome sonority of eight players generates almost orchestral textures, with sparkling interplay and singing beauty. Finishing with its quotation from Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus in a burst of exuberant youthful energy, this is an adrenalin-fuelled way to finish our first day.
“…strikingly intelligent and expressive…” (The Strad on the Salomé Quartet)
Salomé Quartet | Maxwell Quartet
Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1 (selection)
Libby Burgess continues her three-day exploration of Bach’s monumental Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1. Bach’s preludes and fugues travel through every key, and through that journey reflect the gamut of human emotional experience – from sorrow and introspection to euphoric joy. Come to all three concerts to hear the complete collection, or pick just one day to pause and reflect with these moving musical miniatures.
“…the warm, sensitive pianism of Libby Burgess…” (The Observer)
Libby Burgess (piano)
Poulenc: Tel jour telle nuit
Allain: Five Short Musings (public premiere)
Music by Caplet, Clarke and Roussel
Aoife Miskelly joins Libby Burgess for Poulenc’s vivid, surrealist, yet ravishingly beautiful cycle, Tel jour telle nuit, each song dedicated to a different person in Poulenc’s life. A decade earlier in Joueurs de flûte Roussel similarly dedicated each movement to a flautist of the time, and also took inspiration from different appearances of the flute in myths and legends – from the Greek god Pan to the Hindu god Krishna. Just as Éluard’s poetry, set by Poulenc, was inspired by his wife, so a brand new musical tribute celebrates founding New Paths supporters, Neale Edwards and Geraldine Wills: as a birthday gift to Geraldine, five poems by Neale have been set to music by Richard Allain. Richard is particularly known as a composer of choral music, and a similar lyricism and thoughtfulness is found in this new set of songs. Debussy’s Syrinx for unaccompanied flute is paired with a trio for all three performers by Caplet, primarily known as Debussy’s orchestrator but in fact a gifted composer in his own right. Finally flautist Matthew Featherstone’s own teacher Ian Clarke is represented with Zoom Tube, full of blues rhythms and whacky techniques to produce every sound conceivable from the instrument!
“…charming, sparkling, and exquisite singing…” (The Times on Aoife Miskelly)
Aoife Miskelly (soprano) | Matthew Featherstone (flute) | Libby Burgess (piano)
Bax: Elegiac Trio
Beamish: Between Earth and Sea
Dowland: Flow my tears
Debussy: Sonata for Flute, Viola & Harp
The iridescent sound of flute, viola and harp has inspired many composers, perhaps most famously Debussy, whose much-loved Sonata is the cornerstone of this programme. This music is dreamlike, hazy, and magical, with hints of the exotic, like much of Debussy’s writing: the composer reflected this otherworldliness, asking, ‘I can’t say whether one should laugh or cry. Perhaps both at the same time?’ This piece and Bax’s airy Elegiac Trio were both written during the First World War, yet don’t obviously reference this. Indeed, Bax’s work is a depiction of unspoilt, picture-perfect Ireland – his favourite place – and is infused with Celtic inflections and hints of folklore, written as a memorial to the friends he lost in the 1916 Easter Rising there. John Dowland was the finest lute-player of his age, and in many ways the first ‘modern’ songwriter: his Lachrimae encapsulates his characteristic melancholy, and is presented here in the trio’s own arrangement. Mirroring this, Sally Beamish’s Between Earth and Sea is based on an ancient Celtic caoine, or lament, which has at its source the birdsong of the redshank, traditionally held to represent the transition from life to death – earth to sea.
Trio Anima: Matthew Featherstone (flute) | Rosalind Ventris (viola) | Anneke Hodnett (harp)
Vaughan Williams: On Wenlock Edge
Frances-Hoad: Magic Lantern Tales
Scottish folk music
Scottish folk music is woven through everything the Maxwell Quartet do, and here they play a selection of their own arrangements, alongside a group of evocative Fantasias by Purcell. Yorkshire poet Ian McMillan is the author of Magic Lantern Tales, poems exploring memories of World War One, proactively captured in the 1990s while the survivors and stories still lived. From Lily, who met her sweetheart whilst cowering from a thunderstorm, to the friendship of two Harrys (including Harry Ramsden of fish’n chip shop fame), these true stories are touching, and their musical settings wonderfully inventive. Housman’s poetry A Shropshire Lad has also become associated with the First World War, with its themes of homesickness, lives cut short, and lost love – although it was actually written in the 1890s, inspired by the Boer War. The poems paint the landscapes of Shropshire, and Vaughan Williams’ setting, for tenor, string quartet and piano, captures this spaciousness and beauty wondrously. Vaughan Williams is being much celebrated in this, his anniversary year, and this performance of On Wenlock Edge is our contribution to the commemorations.
“…Fisher’s performance was supremely accomplished… his high notes were floated with exceptional grace…” (The Independent)
Alessandro Fisher (tenor) | Maxwell Quartet | Libby Burgess (piano)
Bach: Goldberg Variations
The late-night atmosphere of St Mary’s is a magical way to close the day, all the more so with the exquisite music of the Goldberg Variations. Especially chosen to mark our 30th birthday, the piece comprises 30 variations on a serene theme. This work has inspired musicians through the ages, and we are honoured that Martin has undertaken to perform this in Beverley. Written – according to legend – to soothe Count Kyserlingk, who was unable to sleep, this mellifluous music has worked its healing effect on generations of troubled souls since.
“…Roscoe at his most dazzling, employing a huge dynamic range and changes of mood as swift as they are convincing … It would be difficult to overpraise Roscoe’s accomplishment…” (International Record Review)
Martin Roscoe (piano)
Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1 (selection)
The final instalment of Libby Burgess’ three-day survey of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1: an inspiring, free, breakfast-time concert to start your day.
“…if we look at the works of JS Bach – a benevolent god to which all musicians should oﬀer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity – on each page we discover things which we thought were born only yesterday…” (Debussy)
Libby Burgess (piano)
Mozart: Sonata in D K448
Debussy: En blanc et noir
Rachmaninov: Suite No 2
Long-standing duo partners and friends Martin Roscoe and Peter Donohoe offer a thrilling programme of celebrated duets for two pianos. It is no overstatement to say these are two of the world’s most renowned pianists: Peter won the Tchaikovsky Competition in 1982, and Martin has made over 600 broadcasts, including seven BBC Proms appearances. The lavish sonority of two concert grand pianos is exhilarating, nowhere more so than in Rachmaninov’s Second Suite, full of the dazzling virtuosity and heartfelt romanticism also found in his piano concertos. The verve and showmanship of Mozart’s sonata is no less striking: graceful and elegant, this music sings and sparkles by turn. Debussy’s En blanc et noir is an atmospheric piece, reflecting not just the black and white of the keys, but the composer’s demand that the pianists ‘draw their colour, their emotion simply from the piano, like the ‘greys’ of Velázquez.’ Peter Donohoe played in the first ever Beverley Chamber Music Festival, in 1993, so it’s wonderful to welcome him back this year for the 30th!
“…Peter Donohoe played as if visited by the spirit of Rachmaninov…” (The Guardian)
Although this will not be Martin’s last concert in Beverley, it will be his last performance as co-director of this festival. Please join us afterwards for a glass, to toast this exceptional musician and his magnificent contribution to the music of Beverley over the last three decades.
Peter Donohoe CBE (piano) | Martin Roscoe (piano)
As we mark the 30th Beverley Chamber Music Festival, Katy Hamilton asks: what happens when composers of chamber music leave all sense of a domestic space behind? From meaty string octets to sonatas for multiple pianists and percussion, we explore some of the repertoire highlights of the festival which take us far beyond the boundaries of home music-making, and onto the concert platform. Katy is a sought-after speaker on BBC Radio 3 and at the Proms, and her talks are always a hit in our festivals, with her fabulous combination of insight, expertise, wit, and approachability. Whether you are new to music or already an expert, you will learn something on this voyage of discovery with fellow festival-goers.
Katy Hamilton (piano)
Haydn: Quartet in G Op 77 No 1 (‘Lobkowitz’)
Dvořák: Quartet No 13 in G
Awarded both First Prize and Audience Prize at the Trondheim International Chamber Music Competition in 2017, the Maxwell Quartet is now firmly regarded as one of Britain’s finest new generation string quartets. The final concert of their residency during this festival features two great works from two of the greatest quartet writers, each composed at the height of their powers. Haydn and Dvořák are both known for their sunny-natured writing; both selected the optimistic key of G major for these works; both infuse their music with dance and folk; both write with humanity and beauty. Yet the styles are worlds apart: the graceful Viennese poise of Haydn and the gutsy Bohemian ardour of Dvořák make for a satisfying pairing. Following the death of his long-time patron Count Esterházy in 1790, Haydn was finally freed up to travel and enjoy his celebrity status as a composer: his quartets from this period are assured, ebullient, elegant and instantly likeable. A century later, in the 1890s, Dvořák moved back from America to his home city of Prague, and this homecoming prompted an outpouring of passionate, expansive music: the result is his Quartet in G.
“…superb storytelling from four great communicators…” (The Strad)
Bartok: Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion
Ravel: Histoires naturelles
Trimble: County Mayo
Reich: Clapping Music
Benjamin: Jamaican Rumba
The centrepiece of this closing concert is Bartok’s gripping sonata for the rare combination of two pianists and two percussionists – lending the music a spectacular array of colours and timbres. Filled with Hungarian folk rhythms, this is music sure to get the blood pumping, and is also shimmeringly beautiful. Chris and Libby’s performance of The Rite of Spring in 2021 was a festival highlight, and they are joined here by the principal percussionists of English National Opera and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. This is not to be missed! Ravel’s witty Histoires naturelles takes a quirky and imaginative view on the stories of animals, from the puffed-up peacock to the housekeeping cricket and the cackling guinea fowl, while Reich’s catchy Clapping Music – celebrating its 50th birthday this year – shows how much can be achieved with just one simple rhythmic device. Joan Trimble’s cycle County Mayo is also folk-filled, drawing on the music of her native Ireland, and Arthur Benjamin’s hip-wiggling duet Jamaican Rumba was written for her to perform with her sister. A Caribbean party to close the festival!
“…Johnny Herford’s consistently warm-voiced portrayal… is dramatic and impassioned…” (The Guardian)
Mick Doran (percussion) | Simon Carrington (percussion) | Johnny Herford (baritone) | Chris Hopkins (piano) | Libby Burgess (piano)