Conductor: Derek Beck
Cecilia Osmond – Soprano
Stephen Gadd – Baritone
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.
Tickets: £32, £22, £16 and £10 (half price for those in full time education) available from Winchester Cathedral Box Office: 01962 857275, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk