Bash Street, Brodskys and Boho Baroque – Beaminster Festival 2017

BEAMINSTER Festival director Nigel Corbett has created a delightfully diverse and musically exciting programme for this year’s festival, fromn 24th June to 3rd July.

Listing some of the 2017 highlights – from the Brodsky Quartet to Red Priest, pianist Tom Poster to novelist Joanna Trollope, the Bash Street Theatre, the Festival Players, Pasadena Roof Orchestra and the brilliant BBC Young Musician of the Year cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Corbett quotes the famous Gershwinline – “Who could ask for anything more?”

Gershwin is an appropriate choice as his music pops up in at least four programmes.

The Brodsky Quartet, famous for their cross-genre programming and their work with contemporary musicians such as Elvis Costello, are at St Mary’s Church on Tuesday 27th June, playing a classical programme that includes Bach’s The Art of Fugure, Mendelssohn’s Fugue from Four Pieces, Borodin’s Quartet No 2 and Beethoven’s late quartet, No 13.

There is knockabout comedy from the brilliant Festival Players, in the open air at the Mill House, Netherbury, with The Merry Wives of Windsor, and the sharpest of young wits with the Cambridge Footlights at the Festival Hall at Beaminster School.

On the literature front, the speakers include actor Brian Freeland talking about George Bernard Shaw, David Starkey on Henry VIII and Joanna Trollope talking about her 20th novel, City of Friends.

The finale event, chosen by Festival President Ron Emmett, brings the ebullient Red Priest, the bad boys of the baroque scene, to St Mary’s Church on Sunday 2nd July.

The Baroque Bohemians – Piers Adams, recorders, Adam Summerhayes, violin, Angela East, Cello and David Wright, harpsichord – explore the connections between the music of the baroque masters, including the Red Priest himself, Vivaldi, and the wild folk music of Eastern Europe.

The programme includes works by Handel, Telemann, Bohemian composers Biber and Mielczewski, haunting melodies from the 1730 Uhrovska Collection, and the Elizabethan composers Byrd and Nicholson.

Festival president Ronald Emett says: “Red Priest embody what we are all about – truly great music presented and realised in a vibrant and arresting style.”

On Friday 30th June at St Mary’s, there are three events –  the left-handed pianist Nicholas McCarthy playing a programme from Bach to Gershwin at 10.30am, Christian Tyler at 2pm talking about the history of Forde Abbey, from 1141 to the present. and Wells Virtuosi playing works by Mendelssohn and Beethoven, at 7.30pm.

On Saturday 1st July, Perrott Hill School choir and instrumentalists are at St Mary’s for the Sir Neville Mariner Memorial Concert, at 3pm, with a programme of works by Rutter, Archer, Goodall and Todd.

In the evening, the much-loved Pasadena Roof Orchestra, who first appeared in 1969, bring their stylish blend of swing, hot jazz and eccentric humour to the festival hall at Beaminste School at 7.30pm.

And on Sunday 2nd at Beaminster Manor, the ebullient Bash Street Theatre performs Cliffhanger, open air theatre with falling buildings, daredevil escapology, silent comedy and live piano accompaniment – the fun starts at 2.30 and the gardens will be open from noon.

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Pictured: Red Priest, the Brodsky Quartet and Joanna Trollope.