arcadia 2014



Taken from 'View of Castle Bridge Downton' by Thomas Hearne (1744 -1817). From a private collection.

Dear Friends

Our theme this year is Transcendence.  So our festival is full of the bringing of things from the world above and beyond the physical and temporal - the world of the spirit - and the transmition of these to our dull human ears.  This is what each of our composers has striven to do, and in many cases the circumstances of writing have tested these powers of transmission to the very limit.  Indeed it is difficult to avoid the impression that this very testing has created an unstoppable and obstinate desire to release these capsules of meaning.  One could say that to write music when stone deaf, nearing the end of life, in bereavement or imprisoned is transcendent enough of itself and yet here are works that communicate at the deepest level, feelings that are as uplifting as anything we could ever hear. 

Having committed to a concert with a piano we were in no doubt that the first piece we wanted to present would be Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time.  So radiating from this are seven works all in their diffenent ways transmissions of transcendence.  Becasue of the length of the concerts we will this year dispense with spoken introductions and hope that written notes will suffice. 

We are delighted again to start the festival at the Sun Inn with an improvised taster programme which will probably be a mixture of excerpts from the main pieces and other lighter works.  Be prepared to be surprised and, if you do come, expect to take part in some way… And we are delighted to add a new venue to our roster of stunning Herefordshire churches; the concert on Saturday is at St Michael and All Angels, Kingsland.

We are especially thrilled too to have Sally Beamish join us for a performance of her glowing first quartet a work which she will talk about in a pre-concert event on Friday. 

Eleanor Alberga and Thomas Bowes, Artistic Directors

Thursday 2nd October - 7.30 at The Sun Inn, Rosemary Lane, Leintwardine Free

One of England's very few "parlour" pubs, recently refurbished and enlarged, where everyone can experience this unique location and the broader musical context of the festival.           


Friday 3rd October - 7.30 at St. Mary Magdalene, Leintwardine

***Pre-Concert Talk at 6:30*** - programme notes

Mozart: Clarinet quintet in A major K.581 
Sally Beamish: String quartet No 1.
Schubert: Cello quintet in C, D.956  

Saturday 4th October - 7.30 at St. Michael and All Angels, Kingsland

Programme notes

Eleanor Alberga: No-man's-land Lullaby
Shostakovich: Piano Trio No 2 in E minor, Op.67
Messiaen: Quartet for the End of Time  

Sunday 5th October - 4 pm at St. Giles, Downton-on-the-Rock

Programme notes

JS Bach: Chaconne in D minor for solo violin BWV 1004
Beethoven: String Quartet in A minor, Op.132 click here for details of a performance of op. 127 in Ludlow Saturday 27th Sept
Schubert: Cello quintet in C, D.956


Arcadia's guest artists for 2014 are: [click on artist's name for link to their bio]

Sally Beamish, composer

Sacha Rattle, clarinet

Catherine Thompson, violin 

Robert Smissen, viola

Anthony Lewis, 'cello 

Jonathan Swensen, 'cello