Lancaster University

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Lancaster Concert Series - A Rose Without Thorns

02/05/2004 10:10:45

Lancaster Concert Series continues in The Great Hall, Lancaster University with an eagerly awaited performance by The BBC Singers, one of the world’s great chamber choirs and an ensemble that has played a major role in British musical life for nearly 80 years. In a characteristically varied and virtuosic programme, the first half of their programme presents music in praise of the Virgin Mary (the “Rose” of the concert’s title) by two of the greatest figures of the Elizabethan period -Thomas Tallis and William Byrd - as well as three vibrant pieces by composers from our own day, including the Scot James MacMillan, and Edward Cowie - the BBC Singers’ current Associate Composer, who taught at Lancaster University from 1973-83.

After the interval, some timeless settings of spirituals by Michael Tippett – these come from his wartime oratorio “A Child of our Time” which tells the story of a young Jewish boy caught up in the Nazi oppression; the spirituals movingly express the torments of one oppressed people in terms of another. After this, Benjamin Britten’s charming setting of words by the mad 18th-century poet Christopher Smart, is paired with music by a composer both Britten and Tippett much admired – Henry Purcell, including his unfinished anthem “Hear my Prayer” in an imaginative completion by Bob Chilcott.

Renowned for their commitment to contemporary music, the BBC Singers have commissioned and recorded works by many of the most important composers of our time. But with a repertoire wider than that of any similar ensemble, the BBC Singers also perform and record music from the fifteenth century to the present day, broadcasting regularly on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Television, making frequent appearances at the BBC Proms, and fulfilling a busy schedule of public concerts at home and abroad. The group works regularly with the BBC’s own orchestras.

Thursday 19 February at 7.30pm

Directed by David Hill

Iain Farrington Organ

Box Office 0800 028 3042

Tickets: £12.50, £10, £9.50, £10, £7.50 concs.) Young person £5