To mark the centenary of the end of WW1
Sat, 17 November 2018
Tickets go on general sale 10 September
St. Albans Bach Choir commemorates the centenary of the Armistice with music by three English composers, Elgar, Butterworth and Vaughan Williams.
Gemma Summerfield (soprano)
Louis Hurst (baritone)
Elgar wrote 'The Spirit of England, setting poems by Laurence Binyon (whose anthology The Winnowing Fan was written in 1914), after the first great swathe of casualties. Elgar regarded it as a Requiem for the dead of the Great War and dedicated it "to the memory of our glorious men, with a special thought for the Worcesters". The Fourth of August marks the declaration of war, followed by To Women and For The Fallen. Nearly a century after its first complete performance in 1917, one critic wrote: “The conception is grandiose, but not as the Pomp and Circumstance Marches are. It moves along with no less splendour, but with a more austere deliberation”.
George Butterworth’s A Shropshire Lad Rhapsody was first performed in 1913 and combines the theme from his setting of one of A.E. Housman’s poems (Loveliest of Trees) with echoes of the English folk songs which Butterworth, together with his friend Ralph Vaughan Williams, collected. It influenced other composers of pastoral music and recalls a “land of lost content” before the horrors of the World Wars to come. Butterworth was killed on the Somme in August 1916.
Vaughan Williams’s Dona Nobis Pacem was composed between the wars, and first performed in 1936. He served in the Great War, and lost friends (including Butterworth) and his hearing (partially). His plea for peace sets words from the Mass, the Bible, three poems by Walt Whitman, relating to the American Civil War, and part of a speech by John Bright, against the Crimean War. The work is scored for chorus, large orchestra, with soprano and baritone soloists. The refrain, Dona Nobis Pacem, starts and ends the piece, while the other movements match violence with reconciliation and hope.
St Albans Bach Choir has been performing since 1924: recent programmes have included Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, Verdi’s Requiem (also in London's Cadogan Hall), Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast, and in July 2016 the choir joined forces with the St Albans Cathedral Choirs to present Bach's Mass in B minor with The English Concert. In 2013, as part of the St Albans International Organ Festival’s fiftieth anniversary celebrations, the choir performed Britten’s War Requiem with the Britten Sinfonia under the baton of Sir Richard Armstrong. Last summer the choir returned to the Festival in July for a performance of Handel's Messiah with the London Handel Orchestra conducted by Laurence Cummings. In December 2013, and again in 2015, the choir joined John Rutter and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for their popular carol concerts at the Royal Albert Hall. For the past two years the choir has also been represented onstage at the Albert Hall for the autumn and Christmas Day editions of the BBC1 Big Sing programme.
Premium £30 - Centre front with full view
Classic £26 - Centre middle with full view or slightly restricted view
Standard Plus £20 - Centre back with full view or restricted view
Standard £15 - Centre back with full view or restricted view
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