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Concerts 2014

Winchester Cathedral - 10th May 2014 7.30pm

by kind permission of the Dean and Chapter

Conductor: Derek Beck
Soloists: Cecilia Osmond (soprano), Stephen Gadd (baritone)

Choirs: Itchen Valley Choral Society, Overton Choral Society, Sarisbury Choral Society, Twyford Singers, Winchester City Festival Choir

Vaughan Williams: 'Sea' Symphony
C.V. Stanford: Songs of the Fleet

2014 will mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War I and as Hampshire has long-standing naval connections, both military and civil, it will be appropriate to visit two major nautical pieces in Winchester Cathedral on 10 May. Vaughan Williams made his first symphony choral by adopting words by the American poet Walt Whitman. Its four symphonic movements scored for soprano and baritone soloists, large chorus and orchestra, include lines such as token of all brave captains and all intrepid sailors and mates, and all that went down doing their duty. Both poet and composer also see a parallel between sea voyages and the journey of the human soul through life and on to eternity and the music ranges from folk-like shanties to great hymn-tune grandeur, all accompanied by a rich orchestral palette. Vaughan Williams conducted the English premiere in Leeds on 12 October 1910, his 38th birthday.

The same year Vaughan Williams’ teacher, Charles Villiers Stanford, completed his five Songs of the Fleet for baritone solo and chorus using verses by his contemporary Sir Henry Newbolt. The final song Farewell has the following words: Mother, with unbowed head hear thou across the sea the farewell of the dead, the dead who died for thee. Greet them again with tender words and grave. For, saving thee, themselves they could not save. As with the younger composer, Stanford treats the listener to both profound and jaunty melodies and colourful instrumental effects to support the singers.

Review

Romsey Abbey - 17th May 2014 7.30pm

by kind permission of the Vicar and in association with Music in Romsey

Conductor: David Burgess
Soloists: Helen Bailey (soprano), Adrian Green (tenor)
Choirs: Botley Choral Society, Compton & Shawford Festival Choir,


Bob Chilcott: Requiem
Mendelssohn: Hymn of Praise

One hundred years after the ‘Sea’ Symphony Bob Chilcott, former Kings Singer and eminent choral conductor, wrote a Requiem for soprano and tenor soloists, chorus and chamber orchestra. Described as ‘an elegy for the modern day’ it combines religious and poetic texts in the same way as so many composers before him, reflecting on life’s passing.

Tenor and soprano include a duet The sorrows of death in the ‘Symphony-Cantata’ of Felix Mendelssohn, best known as Hymn of Praise, Op.52. Completed in 1840 (and conducted in an English version by the composer in Birmingham that year), the work has a generally uplifting, positive mood emphasised by much quoting from Psalm 150: All that has life and breath sing to the Lord, Hallelujah. To reinforce this tone of reassurance Mendelssohn employs a Beethoven-size orchestra in which trombone motifs play a significant role in framing the whole work.

Review

Previous concerts: 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007


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