3 Nov 2018 19:30 - The University of Reading Great Hall

This concert commemorates the 1918 armistice with works by five English composers reflecting their own musical backgrounds and wartime experiences.

The wellspring of Gerald Finzi’s Requiem da Camera was the death in action in 1918 of his first composition teacher, Ernest Farrar, whom he idolised.  Finzi was shattered, and in the wake of Farrar’s passing conceived this memorial to him at the beginning of the 1920s.  Gustav Holst’s Ode to Death (1922), for chorus and orchestra, was also written in response to composer friends who died in the war.  Its quiet resigned mood and feeling of the infinite make it for many people Holst’s most beautiful choral work.

His daughter Imogen Holst’s Three Psalms (1943), for chorus and strings, are stunning pieces with subtle rhythms and carefully hidden harmonies producing a variety of choral textures. George Dyson fought in the war, suffering shell-shock, but his Hierusalem (1956), for soprano, chorus and strings, presents not the grief and horror of war but a vision of heaven.

The concert starts with Edward Elgar’s Sospiri for string orchestra, composed in the months leading up to the outbreak of the First World War; it was perhaps the gathering storm clouds of war that moved him to write such a heartfelt bleak adagio.

In his pre-concert talk, Andrew Burn, a member of the Finzi Trust, will focus on the relationship between teacher and pupil, and explore the Requiem da Camera which, for all its elegiac quietude, is also a lament for the heartbreak of war.

Join us for this thoughtful and moving reflection on war and its outcomes.

– Pre-concert talk, included in ticket price, by Andrew Burn of the Finzi Trust, 18.00–18.45.


Full: £18; Concessions: £14; Under 18: £5


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