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Get ready for another ‘big weekend’ of music in Hull

Hull’s cultural and historical heritage will be celebrated by some of the country’s most exciting classical musicians at the Radio 3 Big Chamber Weekend, which runs from 7 to 9 July. 

22nd June 2017

A partnership between BBC Radio 3 and the University of Hull, the four concerts bring music by composers from Schubert to Britten and Shostakovich to the stunning Middleton Hall. 

Pianist Anna Tilbrook, tenor James Gilchrist, the Sacconi Quartet and friends will perform four concerts exploring key themes of Hull’s past – from the work of William Wilberforce to the effects of the Blitz - each preceded by a lecture by University of Hull experts to set the music in context.  

Presented by Petroc Trelawny and broadcast on BBC Radio 3, the Big Chamber Weekend comes ahead of the visit by the BBC Proms to Hull later in July.  

Alan Davey, Controller BBC Radio 3, said: “Chamber music is special:  it arguably engages the mind and the heart more than any other music.  It is an important part of what Radio 3 does and what makes it so distinctive.   

“We are delighted to be bringing some of the finest chamber music and musicians to Hull as part of UK City of Culture 2017, and we really hope audiences both in Hull and listening on Radio 3 are enriched by these imaginatively curated programmes.” 

The Big Chamber Weekend is the latest in a series of music and arts events to be hosted at the redeveloped Middleton Hall as part of the University’s partnership in Hull UK City of Culture 2017, from film festivals to opera.  

Professor Alastair Borthwick, who is leading on the event for the University, said: “The BBC Radio 3 Big Chamber Weekend provides a wonderful opportunity to hear classical music of the highest quality and to be part of the audience for a national radio broadcast.  

“It builds on recent collaborations between the University of Hull and the BBC, including BBC Introducing and a recent performance on In Tune by our Chapel Choir.  

“As a University we are able to draw on a wide range of expertise and it is a particular pleasure to welcome some of our esteemed academics - from English, the Wilberforce Institute, History and Politics - to deliver lectures associated with each of the concert themes as an integral part of the weekend’s events.” 

For tickets and further details, please book online.  

Programme details 

Friday 7 July, 6pm- Writers Old and New 

  • The first concert celebrates writers old and new, with music by Purcell, Britten, Tippett, Vaughan Williams and Rebecca Clarke alongside the world premiere of a new work by David Bednall – settings of words by the Hull-born poet Andrew Marvell. Featuring lecture by Dr Stewart Mottram on Andrew Marvell.  

Saturday 8 July, 3pm- Wilberforce 

  • The second concert is a nod to one of Hull’s most famous sons, William Wilberforce – missionary, MP and slavery abolitionist, and includes music by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and the Chevalier de Saint-Georges alongside Beethoven’s tour-de-force “Storm” Quintet. Featuring lecture by Professor John Oldfield from the University’s Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation. 

Saturday 8 July, 6pm- The North Sea 

  • In the third concert, we celebrate Hull’s history as a sea port with its thriving fishing industry, with songs by Faure and Schubert, as well as Schubert’s famous “Trout” Quintet. Lecture by University of Hull maritime historian Professor David Starkey. 

Sunday 9 July, 3pm- The Blitz 

  • The final concert marks the dark days of WWII and the intensive bombing of the city which caused such devastation. The programme includes songs by John Ireland and Ivor Gurney as well as Shostakovich’s 8th String Quartet – itself a depiction of a concentrated bombing raid in Dresden, and Vaughan Williams’ setting of AE Housman’s “On Wenlock Edge”, so synonymous now with wartime. Featuring lecture by Professor Caroline Kennedy on Hull in the Blitz.  

For more details, including booking and accessibility information, please visit the University’s Culturenet website.