|A unique concert of chamber music to mark The Delius Society’s 60th anniversary is to take place at the Angela Burgess Recital Hall, Royal Academy of Music on the afternoon of SUNDAY 26 JUNE. To be performed alongside recently re-discovered works by Delius are three new works specially commissioned by the Society for the occasion, from leading contemporary composers BO HOLTEN, IAN VENABLES and RODERICK WILLIAMS.
|Premieres from composers, Bo Holten, Roderick Williams and Ian VenablesSunday 26 June 2022, 3:00pm – 5:00pmAngela Burgess Recital Hall, Royal Academy of Music, Marylebone Road, London NW1 5HT
PROGRAMME (there will be one interval)
Bo Holten The Delian Madrigal (premiere)
Ian Venables Hermes Trismegistus: Scena for soprano, viola and piano Op.53 (premiere)
Roderick Williams To be sung on a winter night on water frozen (after Delius) (premiere)
Two Songs for Children
Six Early Part-Songs
Violin Sonata No.2, arr. Viola (Lionel Tertis)
Two (recently discovered) songs
String Quartet (1889) – First Movement (Allegro assai)
Six (newly discovered) piano pieces
Delius arr. R. Williams – Twilight Fancies/I-Brasil/Young Venevil
Milly Forrest soprano
Roderick Williams baritone
Timothy Ridout viola
Chiao-Ying Chang piano
Graham J. Lloyd piano
The Carice Singers
Coull String Quartet
Danish composer and conductor Bo Holten’s Delian credentials include a particularly fine series of recordings performed with the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra on the Danacord label; warmly received “…as if it has been playing Delius for years”, which earned a coveted Record of the Month “CHOC” in Classica Magazine.
As a prolific composer and conductor of a cappella and choral music, Holten, who is a Vice President of the Delius Society, said of his new work; “The Delian Madrigal is a composition that expands and elaborates one of Delius’s ‘Two Songs for Children’. Performances are rare, and my recomposition/arrangement is a way to have this charming piece more often performed by madrigal groups or choirs.” Performing will be members of The Carice Singers, who complete their programme with Delius’s early Part Songs, alongside the original inspiration for the new work.
Closing the first half in suitably dramatic style is Ian Venables’s première. Milly Forrest and Timothy Ridout are joined by Graham J Lloyd to perform his ‘Scena for Soprano, Viola and Piano, Hermes Trismegistus’. Set to a text by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and evoking the ancient mythical sage of the title, the narrator asks, “But where are the old Egyptian Demi-gods and kings?”; something the composer feels might have piqued Delius’s interest, for, in fact, Delius had already written a symphonic poem inspired by Longfellow; his Hiawatha. The music vividly transports the listener back to the land of the Pharaohs and to the image of the Sphinx staring “with mysterious, solemn, stony eyes”.
Hailed as “Britain’s greatest living composer of art songs…” according to Musical Opinion and ”…a song composer as fine as Finzi and Gurney…”, BBC Music Magazine, Venables’s output extends to song-cycles, chamber music and most recently a Requiem, which is shortly to receive a second recording, in orchestral form. Almost all of his songs have been performed and recorded by today’s top singers, including Allan Clayton, Mary Bevan, Andrew Kennedy and Roderick Williams.
Better known as one of Britain’s most outstanding and best-loved baritone soloists, Roderick Williams’s reputation as a composer is growing steadily and his new première, To be sung on a winter night on frozen water, is a work of two contrasting halves, born out of lockdown while the composer was holed up in Amsterdam when a cold snap caused the canals to freeze over.
“In paying tribute to Delius’s choral work, To be sung on a summer night on the water, my companion piece is also wordless, also in two parts, slow and wistful followed by an energetic, nonchalant folk dance, and also influenced by Delius’s French harmonies”, said Williams. “It’s a lot of fun”, he added, “… and a little bit naughty here and there!”
Roderick Williams will also be performing his own arrangements of Delius’s songs for baritone and string quartet, which he has recently recorded with the Coull Quartet. “Arranging the songs caused me to consider how relatively little music there is for these forces…the three songs had piano accompaniments that most suited orchestration for quartet”.
Opportunity to hear re-discovered Delius
Returning to the stage to perform Delius’s Violin Sonata, in the arrangement for viola by Lionel Tertis, will be Timothy Ridout with the pianist Chiao-Ying Chang, who is also to play the rediscovered set of Six Piano Pieces which provide “strikingly beautiful insights into the distinctive harmonic idiom and style of Delius’s later music”, according to authority, Professor Daniel Grimley. Milly Forrest will perform two lost songs which were recently acquired in New York by the Delius Trust along with an accompanying letter written by Eric Fenby. Completing the programme will be the first movement from the early String Quartet of 1899, in only its second live performance, performed by the Coull Quartet.
Angela Burgess Recital Hall
The Royal Academy of Music has been the venue for many a Delius Society Prize, and for the anniversary concert the recently developed 100-seater lime washed oak Angela Burgess Recital Hall, sited at rooftop level, will play host.
Chairman of the Delius Trust, Delius Society Vice President and BBC Broadcaster, Paul Guinery, will compère the programme, inviting each of the composers to introduce their new work. The concert is to be recorded for exclusive distribution to members of the Delius Society and all the premières are to be published.
The Delius Society
The Delius Society was founded in 1962 under its first President, Eric Fenby, who acted as amanuensis to Delius in the final years of his life. With the aim of encouraging the study of Delius’s life and works, the Society arranges recitals and talks for members, who also receive informative Journals and newsletters. Encouraging young musicians to investigate the composer’s music is an important part of the Society’s role, and for this purpose an annual Delius Prize competition is held at a music academy. The newly launched ClubDelius, which offers a range of benefits, is designed to reach those members under 25.
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Further information: The Delius Society www.delius.org.uk