Concert Details

Spring 2012 - Intimations of Immortality

Spring 2012 - Intimations of Immortality

Saturday 31 March 2012 at 19:30

Coptic Orthodox Church Centre »

Finzi - Intimations of Immortality; Britten - Serenade for Tenor, Horn & Strings; and more

Soloist(s): Mark Wilde (Tenor) - Jo Towler (French Horn)

Accompanist(s): Hertfordshire Philharmonia

Conductor: Stephen Bullamore

British Poems set to music by British Composers

Two of the three works being performed at this concert are not that well known and it is hoped that these brief notes will encourage you to come to something new.

The main work is ‘Intimations of Immortality’ (1950) by Gerald Finzi.  Finzi belongs to the English Choral tradition of Elgar, Hubert Parry and Charles Villiers Stanford, which made his music seem unfashionable in his lifetime.  ‘Intimations of Immortality’ is the most extended of Finzi’s choral works, composed in one continuous musical movement of truly symphonic proportions. Perhaps of all the choral works, Intimations shows his word-setting at its most expressive and poignant, demonstrating his personal and individual affinity with the poet Wordsworth, and his resourcefulness in finding imaginative ways to set poetry which many had regarded as difficult because of its classic status. The variety of moods ranges widely, from the pastoral lyricism of the opening, through the intimate Delius-like ‘the rainbow comes and goes’, to the jazzy and extrovert depiction of birdsong which is close in idiom to Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast or Lambert’s Rio Grande.

The Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, Op. 31, is a song cycle written during World War II by the English composer Benjamin Britten, scored for tenor accompanied by a solo horn and a small string orchestra. Composed in 1943 at the request of the famous horn player Dennis Brain, it is a setting of a selection of six poems by British poets on the subject of night, including both its calm and its sinister aspects.

Blest Pair of Sirens is a short, majestic work for choir and orchestra by Hubert Parry composed in 1887. It is a setting of an ode called At a solemn Musick by John Milton which is about man’s desire to join the heavenly music of the spheres. 'Blest Pair of Sirens' was recently sung by the choirs of Westminster Abbey and the Chapel Royal during the signing of the register at the Royal Wedding in 2011. The North Herts Guild of Singers will also be performing this work at our conductor’s own wedding in August.  


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