Songs of the Countryside

A popular choice for summer music festivals, this programme contrasts arrangements of folk song and fiddle music with contemporary classical music. Sally Beamish’s setting of an Emily Dickinson poem about a bee, together with Rachel Stott’s settings of William Blake (The Fly) and William Wordsworth (The Butterfly) form the set ‘Songs of the Air’, while ‘Songs of Mystery and Imagination’ combines Howard Skempton’s setting of Edgar Allan Poe, Philip Cashian’s evocation of Czech folk tale, and Zillah Myers’ recounting of a shipwreck off the North Devon coast.  Sopriola also include in this programme traditional songs and fiddle tunes of the region in which they are playing.



A wide range of visionaries are represented in this unusual programme.   From the religious mysticism of Hildegarde of Bingen, John Donne and William Blake, to the writings of a 16th century lady of the manor learning to do her own cooking, the audience is transported to experience beyond the everyday.   Contemporary composers Emily Doolittle and Vanessa Brown’s lively interpretations of these texts are contrasted with reflective settings by Gustav Holst.   Less familiar poetry is featured in this programme too, as Finnish poet Claes Andersson and Swiss poet Siljarosa Schletterer describe the transformation of the personality by time and the crossing pathways of life.

Flowing East

Appropriate for any time of year, this programme takes the listener on a journey from the slumbering rivers of East Anglia in Simon Rowland Jones’s River Gods to the vast ocean bound rivers of North America, incorporating an arrangement of the beloved traditional song Shenandoah in a set of traditional fiddle and vocal music.  Vanessa Brown’s Pannes Puffes sets extracts from A Proper Newe Booke of Cokerye, published in 1557, and thought to have been used by the wife of Matthew Parker, Master of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, while in rural seclusion in Eastern England.

Songs of Mirth and Madness

A programme requiring the addition of a 3rd player, performing on violin and viola d’amore, Songs of Mirth and Madness includes settings of  William Shakespeare, Stevie Smith, Emily Bronte and Lewis Carroll.  Henry Purcell and J S Bach feature alongside contemporary composers, Amanda Dean, Paula Gardiner and Rachel Stott.