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Past Event
Classical Music

Britten Sinfonia with Brighton Festival Chorus

Wed 17 May 2023
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Sussex folk inspired concert featuring music of Vaughan Williams

Adam Hickox Conductor

Ella Taylor Soprano

Felix Kemp Baritone

Thomas Gould Solo Violin


Vaughan Williams The Lark Ascending

Frank Bridge There is a Willow Grows Aslant a Brook

Joseph Phibbs Flame and Shadow - world premiere

Vaughan Williams Dona Nobis Pacem


Vaughan Williams is paired with a world premiere and Brighton-born Frank Bridge in an elegy for a folksong culture lost to war.

In a bold move true to their pioneering reputation, the Britten Sinfonia perform the first half of this concert with no conductor at the podium. They're directed instead by Thomas Gould, principal violin and soloist in Vaughan Williams’ sublime The Lark Ascending. The work is both a pinnacle of the English pastoral tradition and an elegy for its folksong heritage, music which Vaughan Williams himself said ‘opened the door’ for his compositional style.

The spirit of folk can be heard throughout the other two pieces in this half: Frank Bridge’s lament for Shakespeare’s Ophelia (still singing ‘snatches of old tunes’ as she drowns) and the world premiere of Flame and Shadow by Joseph Phibbs, considered ‘one of the most successful composers of his generation’ (BBC Music Magazine).

Brighton Festival Chorus join after the interval under the baton of impressive young conductor Adam Hickox, son of the late Richard Hickox who regularly conducted at Brighton Festival.  Written in 1936, Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem (‘Grant Us Peace’) sees the pastoral style of The Lark Ascending interrupted by drums, bugles and swelling choral writing; a desperate plea for peace in a world hurtling towards war.


About Britten Sinfonia:

A bold ensemble comprising the UK’s leading soloists and chamber musicians, Britten Sinfonia has been pushing the boundaries of orchestral performance for over 30 years. While its inspired programming and versatility have gained it an international reputation, the group remains firmly rooted in the East of England as the only professional orchestra working throughout the region.

After a cut in support form ACE, the Britten Sinfonia’s future is under threat. Please visit playon.brittensinfonia.com to learn more about their vision for the future.


About Brighton Festival Chorus:

Brighton Festival Chorus is one of the UK’s leading symphony choruses. In its 60-year history it has performed with all the major British orchestras, made 10 appearances at the BBC Proms and been nominated for two Grammy awards.


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