The theme of Ely Consort’s concert in Ely Cathedral on Saturday 25 March is ‘War and Peace’.
In the first half, all the pieces have an association with times of conflict in the 20th Century. Michael Tippett’s oratorio A Child of Our Time was inspired by the assassination in 1938 of a German diplomat by a young Jewish refugee and the Nazi government’s violent reaction, which ultimately led to the events of Kristallnacht. Composed in 1939/1940 and first performed in 1944, this large-scale work is punctuated by songs of oppression in the form of American Spirituals.
The German composer Rudolf Mauersberger’s motet (How desolate lies the city), was written after the allied fire bombing of Dresden in February 1945 which claimed the lives of 25,000 people, including eleven of his own choristers from the Dresdner Kreuzchor. The first half also includes two modern pieces: Paul Mealor’s Wherever you are was written for and recorded by the Military Wives Choir, formed of wives and partners of British military personnel deployed on active service in Afghanistan. This incredibly popular song was No 1 in the UK Singles Chart in 2011. Setting both English and German texts, Howard Goodall’s Sure of the Sky, Sure of the Sun is a haunting and moving reflection on the futility of war. It was premiered at one of the UK’s three main World War I centenary commemoration events in 2014 in the woodland cemetery of St Symphorien near Mons, Belgium, the resting place for the first and last British soldiers to die on the Western Front.
The second half features John Rutter’s Requiem, one of the best-loved and most widely performed choral works of the 20th Century. The texts (in Latin and English) are from the Missa pro Defunctis, the Book of Common Prayer, and the Psalms. Ely Consort will be joined in this piece by the soprano soloist Clare Lloyd Griffiths, who makes a welcome return visit to Ely Cathedral, accompanist Charlie Penn, and a small instrumental ensemble.
Tickets: £15/£10 & U16s £7.50/£5. Ely Cathedral Box Office: tel. 01353 660349 (Mon – Sat 9.30am – 4pm)
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1708381649453401/