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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.

This event takes place at Barbican Centre, which has achieved Silver Status for disabled access from Attitude Is Everything.

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Venue Facts

Venue: Barbican Centre

Silk Street
EC2Y 8DS 51.519812, -0.093904

Barbican Centre photo

Barbican Centre map

Disabled Access: Silver Status


Phone: 0207 638 8891

Disabled Bookings: 020 7638 8891


  → Barbican 2 min walk

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