MSO Concertmaster Dale Barltrop takes us on a journey through the greats of English composition.
Ralph Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending is tainted by
the sadness and sacrifice of war in a myriad of ways. Composed in 1914,
the premiere was put on hold after the outbreak of World War I, the
composer himself serving in France. The premiere was eventually given in
1921, when Vaughan Williams yearned for a time and a world that no
longer existed. This nostalgia is reflected in the score. It is a
musical response to overwhelming loss, created before Vaughan Williams
ever knew how much he, and the world would need it.
Williams’ output is steeped in the stoicism, poise and reticence
we’ve come to associate with the English disposition, and it’s something
Barltrop champions throughout this program. Along with Lark is
Williams’Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus, based on a 16th century folk song. It is awash with the emerald green of the English countryside, lush and accommodating.
The giant of 20th century English composition, Benjamin Britten, is represented byLes Illuminations, his 1940 song cycle with text taken from a collection by French poet Arthur Rimbaud. Multi-musically-skilled MSO Double Bassist Stephen Newton performs this cycle as Tenor soloist.
The MSO also performs the St Paul’s Suite, by Gustav Holst, a composer most renowned for the legendary orchestral suiteThe Planets.
We wish to advise that since the publication of our Season 2020
brochure, there has been a change in program for this performance and
the above is correct.