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Royal Festival Hall

Performance Dates and Times:
Monday, March 13, 2017
07:30 pm

A Sea Symphony - Vaughan Williams
Blest Pair of Sirens - Parry
The Lark Ascending - Vaughan Williams
Four Sea Interludes (from Peter Grimes) - Britten

Philharmonia
Ivor Setterfield

Violin: Benjamin Nabarro
Soprano: Eleanor Dennis
Baritone: Morgan Pearse

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“Behold, the sea itself”!  With a brass fanfare and this dramatic choral declamation, Ralph Vaughan Williams launches his first and longest symphony on a wave of sound.  He set words by Walt Whitman, the American poet, depicting the sea in all its aspects, reflecting in doing so on the larger questions of humankind’s place in nature and the cosmos, art, and exploration (spiritual as well as physical).  In this piece he attained maturity as a composer in his handling of large-scale symphonic form and choral and orchestral writing.

The Sea Symphony is complemented by Britten’s very different, but no less dramatic, response to the sea, in the Four Sea Interludes from his opera Peter Grimes, set in a tight-knit coastal community, where the sea is ever-present in its different moods, sometimes calm, sometimes threatening; Parry’s setting of Milton’s reflection on the partnership of “voice and verse” in Blest Pair of Sirens; and Vaughan Williams’s own evergreen The Lark Ascending.  The experience of hearing a large choir and full symphony orchestra live in these four British masterpieces is definitely not to be missed.


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