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SHALDON FESTIVAL CHOIR
Saturday, 24 June 2017

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“This is the best of me.” These were the words Edward Elgar wrote on the final page of the score of The Dream of Gerontius in 1900.

Elgar never completed an opera but his Gerontius is powerfully operatic in its dramatic timing and establishment of atmosphere. Based on a Victorian poem by Cardinal John Henry Newman, the piece follows an “everyman” character (the word "Gerontius" come from the Greek for “old man”) as he faces death, meets his guardian Angel and goes before his God before being taken to Purgatory with the promise of everlasting glory.

Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius was composed for full-size orchestra, organ, choir and soloists. No orchestra for this evening’s informal performance, which will be the culmination of a choral workshop day directed by Gavin Carr, but superb piano accompaniment guaranteed by Peter Adcock.

Concert starts at 7.30pm


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INNOVATION CHAMBER ENSEMBLE
Sunday, 25 June 2017

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Many Shaldon festival goers will remember the outstanding concert given by The Innovation Chamber Ensemble in 2011 and we warmly welcome their return. ICE was formed in 2002 by Richard Jenkinson and other principal string players of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra to make a unique ensemble who strive for performances of the highest calibre. This 'conductor less' group ranges in size to a maximum of sixteen string players and incorporates both enthusiasm and many years of experience from working with 'worldclass' musicians such as Sir Simon Rattle, Sakari Oramo and indeed the CBSO's current exciting new Lithuanian born music director Mirga Gražinyte-Tyla.

ICE open their programme with Schönberg's highly romantic, emotionally charged string sextet Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night). This is followed by the re-scoring of an early masterpiece of Mozart composed in 1779, Sinfonia Concertante in E Flat, K364. In 1807 an anonymous musician arranged it for string sextet (Grand Sestetto Concertante) for a Viennese publisher, probably at the time Mozart’s widow Constanze was trying to raise some money from his music. It preserves all the complexity of the original – no small feat when a whole orchestra and two soloists must be reduced to a sextet. The main work of the evening is the string septet version of Strauss Metamorphosen written in 1945, when Strauss witnessed the destroyed opera houses in Munich and Dresden. In the words of Strauss’ compatriot, Henrich Heine, “when the words end, music starts.”

Concert starts at 7.30pm

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