Saturday 13th July 2024 at 7:30pm
at the Cadogan Hall, London
The Barnes Choir and Epsom Choral Society present a celebration of English music
Parry: I Was Glad
Vaughan Williams: Five Mystical Songs
Elgar: Serenade for Strings
Parry: Blest Pair of Sirens
Walton: Belshazzar's Feast
Conducted by Julian Collings
Accompanied by full orchestra, two brass bands and soloist
'I was glad' (Latin incipit: Laetatus sum) is an English text drawn from selected verses of Psalm 122. It has been used at Westminster Abbey in the coronation ceremonies of British monarchs since those of King Charles I in 1626. This version, was written for the coronation of King Edward VII in 1902.
In 1908 Vaughan Williams studied with Ravel in Paris, and shortly afterwards produced several major works: the song-cycle, On Wenlock Edge, Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis and, in 1911, the Sea Symphony and Five Mystical Songs.
Vaughan Williams was inspired throughout his life by Anglican liturgy and music, the soaring architecture of its cathedrals, the English of the King James Bible and mysticism of the metaphysical poets. The ‘Five mystical songs’ are settings of poems by the priest and poet George Herbert (1593–1633).
The Serenade for String Orchestra in E minor, Op. 20, is an early piece in three short movements, by Edward Elgar. It was written in March 1892 and first performed privately in that year; its public premiere was in 1896.
Blest Pair of Sirens is a work for choir and orchestra by the English composer Hubert Parry, setting John Milton's ode At a solemn Musick. It was first performed at St James's Hall, London on 17 May 1887, conducted by its dedicatee, Charles Villiers Stanford.
Belshazzar’s Feast is arguably the most exciting piece of choral music ever written. Conceived on a grand scale, it was originally scored for double choir, semi-chorus and full orchestra including piano, organ and two harps. However on seeing an early draft Sir Thomas Beecham commented ‘As you’ll never hear the thing again, my boy, why not throw in a couple of brass bands?’ Walton happily obliged and the result is a ‘cacophonous mash-up of the Lancastrian brass-band tradition, the fast pace of the parlour song, the theatrical ritual of Christ Church Cathedral Oxford, and the sheer vulgarity of English martial music of the time.
Epsom Choral Society is a friendly choir that has performed in and around Epsom for over 100 years. We aim for high standards of musicianship in repertoire that ranges from Bach to Bernstein and beyond.
We are an amateur choir of around 60 voices, who celebrated our 70th Anniversary in 2023. We perform classical choral works to a high standard within a sociable and friendly environment at three major concerts a year, the March concert being part of the Barnes Music Festival.
"The Arcubus Ensemble is a young choir consisting of ex-Oxbridge choral scholars. Nothing unusual in that: the difference is that by day they're City bankers and accountants. You'd never guess that, though, from their precisely calibrated voicing under the direction of Julian Collings."
- Evening Standard
Julian was educated as an organ scholar at Tonbridge School in Kent, before winning an organ scholarship to Christ’s College, Cambridge in 1999, studying under Thomas Trotter and David Sanger.
He is currently Director of Music at St Cyprian's Church, Clarence Gate, a post which he combines with a busy freelance performing schedule. Much in demand as a choral director, he conducts numerous choirs in London and is founding musical director of the much acclaimed Arcubus Ensemble.