Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Songs and Elegies of the English Romantics

We look ahead to our upcoming concert on Saturday 7 May which presents a programme of musical works by English 20th Century composers - Vaughan Williams, Finzi, Tippett and Howells -  spanning two continents and covering the old world and the new world. 

The Old World is represented in Vaughan Williams’ Mass in G minor.  The composer's oft-quoted words "There is no reason why an atheist could not write a good mass" belie the originality with which Vaughan Williams created the mass which is an intricate homage to Tudor polyphony. Gerald Finzi’s Seven Poems of Robert Bridges beautiful response to the classical, delicate poetry of Robert Bridges. The New World arrives in Tippett’s vibrant Five Negro Spirituals extracted from his larger work A Child of our Time including classic arrangements of Steal Away and Deep River. Howells’ short, but intensely moving, setting Take him Earth, for Cherishing was publically dedicated as a response the the assassination of John F Kennedy but was arguably a more personal reaction to the tragic death of the composer’s son Michael.

Original title page of Howells
Take him Earth, for Cherishing

As Peter Seymour our conductor comments: ‘It is great to be rehearsing these highly individual works which are fantastic examples of not only of the skill of the their four very individual composers but geographically span both sides of the Atlantic. Much of the music seems to defy easy categorisation as Vaughan Williams and Tippett in particular both take something that was old and refashion in their own unique, often daring musical language. There is a huge range of musical expression from the gentle poetry to more extrovert, sonorous moments which will sound glorious in the uniquely resonant acoustic of St Michael le Belfrey.  

St Michael le Belfrey, York

We hope you can join us for what promises to be a wonderful concert on Saturday 7 May starting at 7.30pm. Tickets are priced at £14 (full price) and £12 (concessions). £5 tickets for students will be available on the door.  Tickets are available in advance from the National Centre for Early Music or by clicking here: bit.ly/EnglishRomantics 

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