Elgar -Serenade for Strings, Sir John Tavener -The Lamb, Gerald Finzi -Dies Natalis, Howard Goodhall -Eternal Light
The Serenade for Strings in E minor, is a piece for string orchestra in three short movements, by Edward Elgar.
It was written in March 1892 and first performed in private in that year, by the wonderfully named ‘Worcester Ladies' Orchestral Class’, with the composer conducting. It received its first public performance in Antwerp, Belgium in 1896.
It is dedicated to Edward W Whinfield, an organ builder and amateur musician.
The three movements are:
1. Allegro piacevole
The Lamb is a choral work by John Tavener composed in 1982. It is a setting to music of the William Blake poem 'The Lamb'.
Tavener siad: "I wrote The Lamb in 1982 while being driven by my mother from South Devon to London. It came to me fully grown so to speak, so all I had to do was to write it down. It was inspired by Blake and by my three-year-old nephew, Simon."
The Lamb is a haunting, unaccompanied work for choir and embodies Tavener's religious influences and his musical language perhaps more clearly than any other of his works.
Gerald Finzi’s Dies natalis, composed in 1938–1939, uses texts by Thomas Traherne, a seventeenth-century English Metaphysical poet, priest and theologian. These texts reflect the joy and wonder of a newborn child’s innocent perspective on the world. It is a five-movement solo cantata. Although associated with the tenor voice, Dies natalis was premiered and is increasingly performed by sopranos.
The richly textured, resourceful string writing and the long instrumental melodic lines have a broad sweep which carries the music naturally forwards in a unity of spirit with the poetry - a hallmark of Finzi’s art. The subtle inflections of the word-setting and the arching lyricism have attracted many leading vocalists to the work in concert.
Although particularly associated with the tenor voice, Dies natalis was premiered and is increasingly performed by sopranos.
The work is in five movements:
2."Rhapsody" (Recitativo stromentato)
3."The Rapture" (Danza)
5."The Salutation" (Aria)
Written to mark the 20th anniversary of the ensemble London Musici, 'Eternal Light' is an unorthodox and unusual interpretation of the Requiem; it was also envisaged as a dance piece for the Rambert Dance Company. The music is scored for Goodhall’s favourite combination of small choir and strings.
Traditionally a prayer for the salvation of the departed soul, Goodhall’s requiem centres on those who are left behind to grieve. His intention is to seek out the healing power of music, to create a sense of solace whilst acknowledging the unbearable loss and emptiness which comes with the death of someone close.
Goodhall describes Eternal Light as a Requiem for the living, using poetry readings and hymns alongside the more familiar text of the mass, to focus on interrupted lives.
Kyrie: Close now thine eyes
Revelation: Factum est silentium
Hymn: Lead, kindly light
Lacrymosa: Do not stand at my grave and weep
Dies Irae: In Flanders fields
Recordare: Drop, drop slow tears
Revelation: Tum angelus tertius clanxit
In Paradisum: Lux aeterna