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Fenella Humphreys

An evening exploring endings and beginnings through words and music with Fenella Humphreys on solo violin and writer Christina Patterson

There is one absolute certainty in life – it’s ending. Or is it not so much an ending but a cycle of life? Like nature renewing in spring after winter, moments of great loss can be the extraordinary catalyst for change and for humanity’s greatest creativity – from the civil rights movement to memorials such as the Taj Mahal or Bach’s great masterpieces the Chaconne from his Violin Partita No.2 or St Matthew Passion. But we leave legacies which are not purely mausoleums – whether through the patterns of DNA stretching back millennia or the impact we have on each other for good or bad.  

In Bach’s day, dying was commonplace, an ever-present threat and religion provided a comforting pathway to an afterlife. Since the wonders of modern science has dramatically extended life, dying has become more medicalized in hospitals and care homes, mostly shielded from every-day life. With it, the language to express this essential part of life has become more disconnected from our human experience.   

Fenella Humphreys and Christina Patterson will guide you through great works of the violin repertoire and explore the human spirit to create hope and resilience out of adversity and loss. In the words of James Runcie from his recent book The Great Passion imagining Bach explaining his St Matthew Passion to his singer,

“Let this music become your lament, your plea for renewal.  You cannot hold onto your suffering. Share it.  Let others know that they are not alone.”

Fenella Humphreys’ next solo album Prism will be released on 26 April on the Rubicon label.

Nicky Thomas Media


Johann Sebastian Bach - Violin Partita No. 2

Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber - Passacaglia

Allie Robertson - Skydance

Eugène Ysaye - Sonata No. 2

Peter Maxwell Davies - Sanday