Standing shoulder to shoulder with Bach (see below), Beethoven and Brahms, is Benjamin Britten
; the Fourth B. We are delighted to take St George’s Day, falling on the Sunday of the festival, as a prompt to celebrate the glorious music of this Fairest Isle
, including in particular the great Britten.
Follow the Four Bs as a way, or roadmap, through the festival:
Two great song cycles by Britten bookend the festival, each stemming from a life-changing meeting for the man. We’re thrilled to welcome home Claire Booth
to sing Britten’s song cycle, On this Island
, in the opening concert
. The cycle is a setting of texts by Auden whom Britten met whilst both men were working for the GPO Film Unit (collaborating most famously on Night Mail). Nocturne
, the fourth song in the cycle, foreshadows our nocturnal concert in St Mary’s - Under the Starry Skies
- the extraordinary programme for which we will be announcing on Friday.
Claire is one of a number of our homecoming artists
. We’re thrilled to be welcoming back to Beverley three other wonderful musicians who grew-up here: Rachel Robson, Nick Wolmark and Ildikó Allen.
On the closing night
, tenor Andrew Tortise performs the Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo
, the first songs dedicated by Britten to his beloved Peter Pears, whom Britten met shortly after Auden. Britten’s musical language is at its most consciously European in this cycle and includes one of Britten’s very greatest songs Veggio co' bei vostri occhi un dolce lume
. Like many composers and musicians, Britten loved Italy
and was inspired by the country. Our rush hour concert, Italian Hour
, offers a 60-minute romp through music inspired by Italy, all written by non-Italians. The programme will be announced on Monday so keep your eyes open for that news on the morrow.
A festival highlight is sure to be our free Musical Tour of the Minster
. We are keeping the programme of this very special event secret for now, but we can reveal that our other festival tenor Stuart Jackson will perform Britten’s third canticle, Still Falls The Rain
, again with horn player Francesca. Almost all of the festival musicians will be participating in this extraordinary event, performing in every nook and cranny of the Minster – truly a celebration of this spectacular building.