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Threads of Golden Song

Saturday 22 June 7.30pm
All Saints′ Church, Weston Green, Esher, Surrey KT10 8JL (view map)
Online tickets are no longer available, but tickets will be available on the door.

In his comparatively short life, Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625) produced a fine body of sacred choral music, becoming a master of counterpoint: his festal double-choir anthem O Clap your Hands, composed as part of his Doctor of Music degree at the University of Oxford, being a case in point. His madrigal The Silver Swan, published in 1612 in his collection The First Set of Madrigals and Motetts, is perhaps the best-known and loved of all English madrigals: SS Wesley said “This little piece is not exceeded by any foreign work of the kind. It should have been an Anthem, as it deserves a better fate than occasional performance by a madrigal society”.

A prolific composer, Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) made significant contributions to almost all musical genres, from intimate art songs and solo instrumental works to large-scale ballet and stage works. Searching for a post-romantic style, he was strongly influenced by folksong and Tudor music. Over his life he collected and preserved hundreds of folksongs from around the British Isles. Vaughan Williams clearly valued these hymn tunes very highly: he set the melody of Song 13 as a beautiful piano solo for the pianist Harriet Cohen, later orchestrating it for strings.

Vaughan Williams would have known Gibbons’ music through his work as editor of the English Hymnal. George Withers’ Hymnes and Songs of the Church, published 1623, contains 16 works by Gibbons. Vaughan Williams clearly held these in high enough regard to adapt for inclusion in the Hymnal, including setting Drop, drop slow tears to the first strain of Song 46.

Vaughan Williams’ Mass in G Minor was composed in 1921, the first notable setting of the Latin ordinary by an English composer since the 16th Century. Though first performed in a concert setting, Vaughan Williams intended it to be for liturgical use; it was first performed as such by the choir of Westminster Cathedral under RR Terry.

Though they lived their lives 300 years apart, the similarities between the choral music of Ralph Vaughan Williams and Orlando Gibbons are striking. In “Threads of Golden Song” we explore the intimate web of connections between these two great British composers for choir.

The concert will start at 7.30pm and end at approximately 9.30pm

£16 in advance, £18 on the day.
£5 for under 18s
Group discounts are available – please contact box office for more information.

Online tickets are no longer available, but tickets will be available on the door.