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John Adams: The Wound-Dresser

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Saturday 28 April 2018, Barbican, London at 7.30pm

The BBC Singers perform Ravel, Adams, Vaughan Williams and Harris (UK premiere)

Programme

Maurice Ravel
Le tombeau de Couperin
John Adams
The Wound-Dresser
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis
Ross Harris
Face

 

Allison Bell – soprano
James Way – tenor
Marcus Farnsworth – baritone
BBC Singers
Gergely Madaras – conductor
BBC Symphony Orchestra

The role of those who care for the injured provides the theme: Ralph Vaughan Williams, like Maurice Ravel, was too old to serve in the First World War but he volunteered as a stretcher bearer while the Frenchman drove munitions lorries behind the lines, putting himself in extreme danger. His Le tombeau de Couperin remembers friends killed in the First World War.

John Adams’s The Wound Dresser, for baritone and orchestra, sets words by Walt Whitman who tended the wounded in battle, while Ross Harris’s celebrates the work of fellow New Zealander, the plastic surgeon Harold Gillies who pioneered facial reconstruction and contributed to the rehabilitation of thousands of servicemen.

Face, receiving its UK premiere is a work for soloists, chorus and orchestra with projections.

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Singers at Six: Choral Elgar

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Friday 13 April 2018 St Giles’ Cripplegate, London at 6.00pm

The BBC Singers perform Elgar

Programme

Edward Elgar
4 Choral Songs, Op 53
Ave maris stella
Imperial March
The Light of Life, no 2 “Seek Him that maketh the seven stars’
They are at rest
Give unto the Lord, Op 74

Eamonn Dougan
conductor
Stephen Disley
organ

Smaller scale choral Elgar that finds the composer lifting some beautiful British poetry as well as sacred texts into song.

Edward Elgar’s feeling for poetry, and particularly the poetry of his own time, stimulated his composition. And while many of his choral works were written on a grand scale, he left a substantial body of small works, many of them written as test pieces for the then very popular choral competitions. Tonight’s BBC Singers programme gives us a handful of them, including the four choral songs of his Op 53, settings of Tennyson, Byron, Shelley and a poem he wrote himself, The Owl, which brought forth one of his most harmonically advanced pieces. Organist Stephen Disley plays Elgar’s Imperial March written for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897.

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