Nash Ensemble Evening Concert at the Dorset County Museum

The Nash Ensemble, © Hanya Chlala/ArenaPAL

The Nash Ensemble, © Hanya Chlala/ArenaPAL

The celebrated Nash Ensemble, resident chamber ensemble at the Wigmore Hall, London are playing at Dorset County Museum for one night only on Friday 19th June at 7.30pm.

The programme consists of:

  • Mozart Oboe Quartet in F K 370
  • Stravinsky Three Pieces for String Quartet
  • Michael Berkeley Oboe Quintet ‘Into the Ravine’
  • Ravel String Quartet

The musicians are Gareth Hulse (oboe), Laura Samuel (violin), Annabelle Meare (violin), James Boyd (viola), Adrian Brendel (cello).

Sunlit Ravine by John Craxton 1982-5

Sunlit Ravine by John Craxton 1982-5

One of the pieces being played on the night, Oboe Quintet ‘Into the Ravine’, was influenced by paintings, including one given to the composer Michael Berkeley’s father in 1962 by local artist John Craxton, to whom the concert is dedicated.

Michael Berkeley and his parents Lennox and Freda Berkeley were close friends of the Craxton family for many years. In 1962 John Craxton commissioned Lennox Berkeley to write an oboe sonata for his sister Janet Craxton the oboeist. In return he gave Lennox a painting of a Greek Ravine, which later was to be the inspiration for ‘Into the Ravine’.

In 2012 after the death of John Craxton, Michael Berkeley wrote ‘Into the Ravine’ in memory of the artist.

‘Into the Ravine’ is a melancholy piece beginning with the oboe intoning three plaintive notes around which the strings gradually entwine. The final bars seem to imitate a solitary bird making a final lonely call before taking to the wing and disappearing into the clouds.

John Craxton, Hydra, Greece, 1960 - Wolfgang Suschitzky

John Craxton, Hydra, Greece, 1960 – Wolfgang Suschitzky

John Craxton’s work, including the paintings that inspired Michael Berkeley, is on display until 19th September in a temporary exhibition at the Museum, ‘A Poetic Eye: John Craxton on Cranborne Chase and Crete’. Doors will open early at 7.00pm on the night to enable a viewing of this intriguing exhibition before the concert begins.

There will be a raffle sponsored by Goldcrest Jewellers and refreshments on the night with all proceeds going to the Collections Development Centre fund at Dorset County Museum. The Museum has been successful in its bid to win £10.3 million of Heritage Lottery Funding but needs to find a further £3 million in match funding.

Tickets can be bought from Dorset County Museum’s shop or by phone on 01305 756827 and cost £30 each.

About the Nash Ensemble

Chamber Ensemble in Residence at Wigmore Hall, the Nash Ensemble is regarded as a standard-bearer of British music-making around the world and this year celebrates its 50th anniversary. To mark this achievement its founding artistic director, Amelia Freedman, devised a series at Wigmore Hall consisting of repertoire performed to great acclaim including some of the 193 commissions which it has premiered over the past half century.

Recent highlights include concerts in Germany, Switzerland, Italy and the USA, including a residency at Princeton University. Recent releases include a CD of Hollywood composers for Hyperion, connected to the Ensemble’s highly praised 2013/14 American series at Wigmore Hall; Harrison Birtwistle’s The Moth Requiem for Signum Classics; and a recording of John Tavener’s Russian Folk Songs for NMC. The Ensemble has received two Royal Philharmonic awards “for the breadth of its taste and immaculate performance.”

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Stolen Images – Pagan Symbolism and Christianity by Peter Knight

Stolen Images - Pagan Symbolism and Christianity by Peter Knight

Stolen Images – Pagan Symbolism and Christianity by Peter Knight

Peter Knight lives in Wiltshire and is the author of eight books on ancient and sacred sites around the world. He is well-known for his talks, workshops and field trips which allow people to connect in new ways with the special sites they visit.

Peter returns to the Museum to talk about his major book ‘Stolen Images – Pagan Symbolism and Christianity. In his lecture, Peter will discuss how ancient Pagan symbols and myths were absorbed into Christianity to usurp pre-Christian belief systems, as well as to encapsulate archetypal power for the benefit of the new religion. Most Christian icons can be traced back to an older origin, and many churches were also sited on ancient holy places. The Church also took over existing Pagan festivals and turned them into saint’s days. This fascinating talk will link Egyptian, Norse, Greek, Roman, Babylonian, Celtic and other cultures to the new religion – you will be surprised at what you find! For instance, he will show how 15 ancient sun gods share the Jesus’ attributes of both a birthday on Dec 25th and being born to a virgin mother!

Copies of Peter’s book will be available on the night. The talk starts at 7.30pm on Friday 22nd May and the doors will be open from 7.00pm. All are welcome to attend and entry is FREE although donations are encouraged.

For further information contact the Museum on 01305 756827 or check the website on

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Fantastic Creatures at Dorset County Museum: Ray Harryhausen talk and film screening by Tony Dalton

Tony Dalton, Curator of The Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation

Tony Dalton, Curator of The Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation

An exciting talk at Dorset County Museum forms part of the current Pardoes ANIMATE! exhibition.

‘The Art of Ray Harryhausen’, by Tony Dalton, Curator of The Ray & Diana Harryhausen Foundation and film historian, will illustrate Ray’s creation of unique fantastic creatures and his unequalled style of model animation with images from his career.  Beginning with a young Ray watching the 1933 King Kong in Hollywood, he was so inspired by the film he decided to try to recreate it and bring his own incredible creatures to ‘life’.  Over the years his films included such fantasy classics as Mighty Joe Young (1949), The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (1952), The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), Jason and the Argonauts (1963), One Million Years B.C. (1966), The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973) and Clash of the Titans (1981).

This talk takes place on Wednesday 28th August at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £5.00 for adults and £2.50 for children (aged 0-16) and are available from the Museum Shop on 01305 756827 or by emailing

A selection of Ray Harryhausen books available from the museum shop

A selection of Ray Harryhausen books available from the museum shop

There will be a book signing afterwards of Ray and Tony’s books, in particular, Ray Harryhausen: A life in Pictures which is available in the Museum shop.

Doors open at 7.00pm providing an opportunity to see the exhibition before the talk.



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