Review: TS Eliot Quartets at St Nicholas Chapel, King’s Lynn

St Mary's Church, Market Place, Long Sutton, An Evening with Dr Rowan Williams (ex-Archbishop of Canterbury)
Dr Rowan Williams ANL-150613-151322001

St Mary's Church, Market Place, Long Sutton, An Evening with Dr Rowan Williams (ex-Archbishop of Canterbury) Dr Rowan Williams ANL-150613-151322001

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King’s Lynn Festival: TS Eliot’s Four Quartets: Niamh Cusack, Rowan Williams and Guy Johnston: St Nicholas’ Chapel, Lynn

TS Eliot was, of course, one of the great 20th century poets and literary figures, so an evening focusing on, what he considered his poetic masterpiece, the Four Quartets, made an appropriate subject for an exciting and novel celebration, and was presented in an unusual and original way at St. Nicholas’ Chapel as part of King’s Lynn Festival.

The poems, published separately as: Burnt Norton, (1936), East Coker(1940), The Dry Salvages (1941), and Little Gidding (1942) were discussed by Dr Rowan Williams, who became Archbishop of Canterbury in 2002, and is now Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge.

Dr Williams, whose thoughts on the poems gave insights into their backgrounds and spiritual themes (not always easy to discern), were delivered with authority (he is a poet himself) and were followed by extracts from the poems delivered by actress, Niamh Cusack, with clarity and grace.

To begin the evening, past BBC Young Musician of the Year, Guy Johnston, played J S Bach’s unaccompanied Cello Suite No.3 in C-major and throughout the evening in between the poetry he played movements from some of Bach’s other suites allowing us to meditate and reflect on the poetry.

His superbly moving and fluid performances allowed us to do this easily.

A fascinating evening. I learnt and reflected a lot.

Andy Tyler