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Ralph Vaughan Williams - A Choral Celebration | Joyful Company of Singers

Saturday July 9, 2022 at 19:00
St Martin's Church, Dorking
£15, £10 under 30s and unwaged
Book Online
Tickets "at the door" - until sold out
  1. O taste and see - Ralph Vaughan Williams
  2. A vision of aeroplanes - Ralph Vaughan Williams
  3. Bushes and Briars - Ralph Vaughan Williams
  4. Lord, thou hast been our refuge - Ralph Vaughan Williams
  5. 3 Shakespeare songs (1951) - Ralph Vaughan Williams
  6. Silence and Music - Ralph Vaughan Williams
  7. I love my love, from 6 Choral Folksongs Op 36b - Traditional, arranged by Gustav Holst
  8. The Song of the Blacksmith, from 6 Choral Folksongs Op 36b - Traditional, arranged by Gustav Holst
  9. God is gone up Op 27 No 2 - Gerald Finzi
  10. I praise the tender flower, from 7 Poems of Robert Bridges, for mixed voices Op 17 - Gerald Finzi
  11. Nightingales, from 7 Poems of Robert Bridges, for mixed voices Op 17 - Gerald Finzi
  12. Blow, blow thou winter wind - Havergal Brian
  13. Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Op 5 - Havergal Brian
  14. Fear no more the heat of the sun - Havergal Brian
  15. O Western Wind … An anniversary
  16. Earth Grown Old - Zoe Dixon

The Joyful Company of Singers celebrates the 150th anniversary of the birth of one of England’s greatest composers and also pays respect to Queen Elizabeth’s extraordinary 70 years on the throne. Our programme includes the anthem O taste and see that Ralph Vaughan Williams wrote for the Coronation in 1953, as well as Silence and Music, with words by Ursula Vaughan Williams, which was his contribution to that year’s A Garland for the Queen offered by British composers.

We link this with a new piece by Sarah Cattley, an imaginative setting of Ursula’s poem O Western Wind, interspersed by phrases from the ancient song. Another poetic link is with Vaughan Williams's Rest, a setting of a Christina Rossetti poem, which is paired with a premiere performance of a setting of her poem Earth grown old by our newly appointed Composer in Association, Zoe Dixon.

The rarest item in the programme is from the final part of his life. Written in 1956, A vision of Aeroplanes is a setting of a passage from the Book of Ezekiel, and in many ways recalls Vaughan Williams's 4th Symphony, although it has echoes of Sancta Civitas as well. The vocal and organ parts paint a complex, swirling and intense sound world – certainly not a pastoral picture! Our organist will be the prize-winning Jeremiah Stephenson, who will also join us for Lord, Thou hast been our refuge - Vaughan Williams's setting of Psalm 90 combined with Isaac Watts’s metrical translation, the hymn O God our help in ages past.

Our programme includes some of Vaughan Williams's folk song arrangements - collecting such pieces was so much part of his life and was shared by his great friend Holst; we feature a couple of Holst’s arrangements in our programme. Vaughan Williams's friendship with Finzi was also very close, and in some ways Finzi filled the gap left by Holst’s death. Finzi’s anthem God is gone up and two of his part songs are included in the programme.

The Three Shakespeare Songs written in 1951 are echoed by three of Havergal Brian’s songs (though not written as a group) – Joyful Company of Singers and others are in the process of recording all of Brian’s choral songs. The two composers knew each other and corresponded – Vaughan Williams thanked him for his help with Sancta Civitas.

There will be a free pre-concert talk at 6.30pm

St Martin's Church
Church Street

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