The pairing of a choir with a harp is not often heard. But our summer concert offers just such a rare opportunity, with an eclectic programme of 20th-century pieces.
We start with Britten’s choral dances from the opera Gloriana, composed to celebrate the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953. Britten rearranged them for choir, harp, and tenor solo to mark the opening of the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, in 1967.
Cecilia MacDowall’s A Fancy of Folksongs could not be a greater contrast – a suite of part songs ranging from the poignant to the humorous, ending with the well-known O No, John!
It’s another change of style with Joseph Horovitz’s three songs from Shakespeare’s As You Like It, which use blues and jazz harmony to powerful effect.
James Bassi was commissioned to write the Harpsonnetsby the Victor Salvi Foundation, a US-based organisation whose mission is to promote the harp. The four settings of Shakespeare sonnets begin with perhaps his most famous, Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?, and each deals with a different aspect of love. The last and most dramatic, Devouring Time, Blunt Thou the Lion’s Paws, comes full circle, concluding with the same sentiment as the first – that through poetry the beloved will live for ever.
See you at the Holywell Music Room on Saturday 29 June at 1930.