Saturday 30 June 2018
St Saviour’s Church 7.30pm
– Light & Love –
Music for midsummer
Malcolm Arnold – The John Clare cantata
R Vaughan Williams – Epithalamion
William Alwyn – Pastoral fantasia
Cecilia McDowall – Ad lucem – a canticle of light
Amadeus Chamber Orchestra
leader Jennifer Wigram
Meghan Cassidy viola
Hattie Jolly flute
Keel Watson baritone
Susie Arbeid piano
conducted by John Gibbons
A programme of rarely-performed masterworks celebrating the English countryside, the changing seasons, a wedding and the triumph of light over darkness
The poetry of the nineteenth-century Northamptonshire Peasant Poet John Clare was greatly admired by Malcolm Arnold. He wrote The John Clare Cantata for mixed choir and piano duet in 1956 for the Dartington Summer School of Music, here receiving its second performance in the version for strings orchestrated by John Gibbons. Its five sections present Clare’s evocative responses to the effects wrought by the different seasons on the rural landscape.
Epithalamion composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams in 1957 is a cantata for baritone, choir, flute, piano and strings incorporating English folk song melodies. Ursula Wood (later the second Mrs Vaughan Williams) selected the text of the eleven parts from sixteenth-century love poems by Edmund Spenser written to his bride on their wedding day.
William Alwyn’s Pastoral Fantasia for Viola and Strings is a wartime commission for the BBC Light Programme’s lunch-hour Music While You Work series, aimed to boost morale on the home front. First broadcast in March 1940, its melodies evoke nostalgia for the England of bygone days, soon to be changed for ever.
Ad Lucem – A Canticle of Light by Cecilia McDowall was commissioned by choir member Alan McGlynn for the St Albans Choral Society in memory of his late wife Mary Josephine Blackburn and received its premiere in St Saviour’s in October 2009. It sets a variety of texts reflecting the sentiment of Amnesty International’s motto: It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
The Amadeus Chamber Orchestra has performed in the local area for 40 years, delighting its audiences with its consistently high standard of performance. Jennifer Wigram has been leader of the orchestra since 1996.
Please join us afterwards for drinks and party nibbles in the church hall.
TICKETS £15 (£5 child/student)
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