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Fire, Plague and the Restoration of the Monarchy!

16 April 2009

Fire, Plague and the Restoration of the Monarchy!

The 2009 Beverley & East Riding Early Music Festival, which this year runs from Thursday 21st - Saturday 23rd May, is celebrating one of England's finest 17th century composers - Henry Purcell - with concerts, lectures and free on-line educational resources giving younger audience members a rare insight into Purcell's turbulent life during the Great Fire of London, the outbreak of the plague and the Restoration of the Monarchy.

The celebrations will begin with senior school children from across the region working together under the baton of Sam Dunkley from Woldgate School. Joining together with musicians from the University of York and soloists from the Royal Northern College of Music, the newly formed Beverley Early Music Festival Schools Chorus will make its debut at St Mary's Church, Beverley on Friday 22nd May with Purcell's famous - and delightful - 'Come ye Sons of Art'.

The focus on Purcell continues in the evening on Friday 22nd May with the internationally acclaimed viol consort Fretwork and vocal soloist Clare Wilkinson who will be presenting an intimate concert by candlelight in Beverley Minster - drawing in an audience who can eavesdrop on what music was like 350 years ago. Highlights of the concert include 'The Evening Hymn', 'Sweeter than Roses' and the glorious - but haunting - lament from 'Dido and Aeneas'.

And to draw in the really young ... the Festival is working with its parent organisation, the National Centre for Early Music, to provide free educational resources for key stage 2 pupils aged 7 - 11. Written by Dr Cathryn Dew of the NCEM, the resources will give teachers information on the history of the times, with activities for the classroom and musical examples. The resource will be available from the NCEM's web site - - from May.

The Beverley & East Riding Early Music Festival is directed by Delma Tomlin and administered through the National Centre for Early Music with financial support from the East Riding of Yorkshire Council, the Arts Council and Schroder Financial Management. For tickets and festival brochures, please contact the NCEM, St Margaret's Church, Walmgate, York YO1 9TL on 01904 658338, visit or use the secure on-line booking service at Please note that tickets can also be purchased in person from the Beverley Tourist Information Centre, 34 Butcher Row, Beverley.

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