Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Voices And Strings (music)

You might have noticed that I rarely blog about classical music. This is mainly because I know very little about the subject and tend to be more drawn towards jazz, americana and folk. However, when local Sussex composer Clive Whitburn got in touch to talk about his Eastbourne Festival event, Voices And Strings, I thought it might be time to learn a little more.

The concert will include several favourite classic works, one of which - Handel's Zadoc the Priest - I have actually sung myself as one of many in a schools' concert at the Albert Hall. This was over 20 years ago when I was still a soprano(!) but I still remember the fabulous atmosphere created by hundreds of us singing out together.

Voices And Strings will also have performances of Handel's Hallelujah Chorus, Ave Verum Corpus and Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (1st Movement) by Mozart, Schubert's String Quartet no. 14 in D minor Death and the Maiden (1st Movement) and Dvorak's String Quartet Opus 96 no 12 The American (Finale). The musicians and vocalists are The New Network Singers, Sue Clough (Soprano), Tim Peters (Tenor), The Ashdown String Quartet and Ric Graebner (Piano).

There will also be three of Clive Whitburn's own works. The duet “Dream of Peace” for Soprano, Tenor, string quartet and piano will receive its first public performance at the concert. I have embedded a previous orchestral incarnation of the work at the end of the post to give you a preview. Clive first came up with the melody several years ago when he was Headteacher at Langney Primary School for a song for a school play. Somehow the melody remained with him. Unusually, for Clive, he has written both the words and music for “Dream of Peace”. This gentle and poignant duet asks that we learn from history and bring an end to war. It reaches a stirring climax with the plea to “ bring an end to all this madness, there has to be a way... learn and find a better way” It will be performed by Sue Clough, soprano, and Tim Peters, Tenor.

The other works by Clive being premiered in the concert are: “No Man is an Island - a gentle and melodic choral setting of John Donne’s famous poem. and “The Furies - Soft Rains” for chorus, quartet and piano. Here Clive has taken a powerful and energetic early 17th century text by Du Bartas /Joshua Sylvester and melted it into a wistful and evocative setting of Sara Teasdale’s early 20th Century poem “There Will Come Soft Rains”.

And if you're interested, the striking artwork on the Voices And Strings posters is by Poppy Foyle.

Under Ground Theatre, Sun 4th May, 18.30.
Tickets £8.50 in advance and concessions, £10 on the door. Advance tickets can be purchased online through this link via +TicketSource