SATURDAY, 1 October 2016, 7:30 pm
A Sea Symphony - Ralph Vaughan Williams
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D minor Op 47 - Sibelius
Ave Verum Corpus - Elgar
with the Southern Sinfonia
Vaughan Williams chose the sea as the subject for his first
large scale choral-orchestral
work, the Sea Symphony, and this resulted in a truly great masterpiece.
American poet, Walt Whitman, had created a brilliantly inspired seascape text
and this resulted in Vaughan Williams seizing upon the numerous descriptive
aspects of the world of the sea for this, his first symphony.
The Sea Symphony resulted in this composer’s first big
success and since its premiere at the Leeds Festival in 1910 this mighty work
has remained as one of the greatest attractions in the English music
repertoire. The opening section of the
first movement, to the words ‘Behold the Sea’, is thought by many to be one of
the most thrilling openings to be found in any large-scale work and the variety
which follows, depicts superb representations of such subjects as the power of
sea waves, the glory of sailing, the terror of fierce storms and the beauty of
The Vaughan Williams ‘Sea Symphony’ is a truly superb work.
It is absolutely unique and is scored with musical power and melodious richness
for soprano and baritone soloists, chorus and orchestra. As well as the brilliant opening theme there
are numerous magical moments to be found in this work, such as the section in
the middle of the fourth movement which is started by the two solo singers with
the words ‘O thou transcendent’. There
is also the beauty of the peace and calm of the second movement ‘On the Beach
at Night alone’ plus the boldness of the third movement Scherzo headed by its
title ‘The Waves’. There are many more
glorious moments to be experienced in the ‘Sea Symphony’, a work which creates
stunning effects on both audience and performers.
The concert also includes Jean Sibelius's violin concerto
which is the most frequently recorded and performed concerto of the violin
concertos composed in the 20th century. The soloist is Hong Kiu Mak, an
accomplished young violinist who was elected as the Hong Kong Young Musician of
the Year in 2006. He is currently studying at Eton College as a music scholar.
This is the last concert in the Choral Society's 180th