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Sun 20th Jan at 7:30pm
@ Barbican Centre, London
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The Birds: Crouch End Festival Chorus, London Orchestra da Camera, Naomi Harvey, Jennifer Johnston, Ben Johnson, Madeleine Easton
A programme of music inspired by our feathered friends:
Gibbons The Silver Swan
Vaughan Williams The Lark Ascending
Todd Ode to a Nightingale
Britten Spring Symphony
Published in 1612 for five voice parts, Orlando Gibbons’ The Silver Swan is perhaps his best-known and best-loved madrigal. Based on the myth that the mute swan sings only as it dies, this wistful lament evokes the majesty of the bird as it mourns its own demise.
In Ralph Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending, a solo violin is aptly chosen to play the role of the lark as it rises, singing, over the hills. The London Orchestra da Camera portrays the beauty of the English countryside with Madeleine Easton starring as the spiralling lark.
The Birds also presents Ode to a Nightingale, a stunning new composition by Will Todd, first performed at the Barbican in 2011. Using lyrics from the famous poem by John Keats, Todd explores the uneasy relationship between pleasure and pain in this stirring work.
In celebration of the centenary of his birth, the concert concludes with a performance of Benjamin Britten’s Spring Symphony, featuring that herald of the new season, the cuckoo. Britten engages the forces of large orchestra (complete with cow horn), chorus, children’s choir and three soloists to bring his vision of spring into glorious life.
Presented in collaboration with the acclaimed London Orchestra da Camera and Finchley Children’s Music Group, one of the country’s foremost children’s choirs, Crouch End Festival Chorus’ The Birds promises to lift the spirits with thoughts of Spring.
A star of the English National Opera, Welsh National Opera and Glyndebourne Fesitval Opera.
Naomi Harvey tour dates
Tenor Ben Johnson is equally at home in opera recital and oratorio. He has worked with Sir Mark Elder and Esa-Pekka Salonen and made his BBC Proms debut in 2009 in Handel’s ‘Samson’.
Ben Johnson tour dates
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Venue: Barbican Centre
Phone: 0207 638 8891
→ Barbican 4 min walk