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ELGAR FESTIVAL Gala Concert “The Greatest Symphony of Modern Times”

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Worcester Cathedral

8 College Yard

Worcester

WR1 2LA

United Kingdom

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Event description
The Elgar Festival Chorus sings Elgar’s bracing choral masterpiece, The Spirit of England, and Kenneth Woods conducts Elgar's First Symphony

About this Event

Saturday 30 May at 7:30 PM

Worcester Cathedral WR1 2LA

Festival Gala Concert

“The Greatest Symphony of Modern Times”

English Symphony Orchestra

– Kenneth Woods – Conductor

Elgar Festival Chorus

– Stephen Shellard – Director

– Sophia Larsson – Soprano

Programme

Edward Elgar – The Spirit of England

– Elgar Festival Chorus

– Sophia Larssson – soprano

Adrian Williams – Dies Irae for Orchestra

– Interval –

Edward Elgar – Symphony No. 1

Perhaps no work in the history of British music was so eagerly anticipated as Elgar’s First Symphony. At the time of its premiere by the Hallé under Hans Richter in 1908, Elgar had been long-established as unquestionably the greatest British composer in over a century, and he had been working on the idea of a symphony for over a decade.

In the end, the premiere of the First was to be one of the greatest triumphs of Elgar’s professional life. As rehearsals commenced for the London premiere, conductor Hans Richter called it “the greatest symphony of modern times, written by the greatest modern composer – and not only in this country.”

Written less than ten years later, The Spirit of England is a very different work, the product of an Elgar who was a man much changed by the War. Sometimes called Elgar’s “War Requiem”, this work contains some of Elgar’s most soaring choral writing, but also serves as a sober reminder of the cost of war. Singers who wish to join the Elgar Festival Chorus can apply by downloading and returning this form.

Throughout his life, proximity to nature was vital to Elgar’s creativity, whether it was the Malvern Hills or the mysterious landscape of Brinkwells where he spent the war years. So it also is for composer Adrian Williams, whose Dies Irae (1988) was a commission from the BBC for a tour of Wales by the then BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra. Like the later chamber work Aruga, the work is a reaction to the destruction of nature by man, full of anger and frustration. Near the end is a quotation from Williams’ own choral piece De Profundis, ‘out of the depths have I called to thee, O Lord’. Williams writes ‘Environmental issues have troubled me almost all my life, from when most people had no interest or knowledge about the dangers we face. I have always felt moved by Wilfred Owen’s famous line ‘all a poet can do today is warn’. As artists we can only warn. And lament.’

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Date and Time

Location

Worcester Cathedral

8 College Yard

Worcester

WR1 2LA

United Kingdom

View Map

Refund Policy

Contact the organiser to request a refund.

Eventbrite's fee is nonrefundable.

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