Premieres by Bo Holten, Ian Venables and Roderick Williams
A unique concert of chamber music to mark The Delius Society’s 60th anniversary this year. To be performed alongside recently re-discovered works by FREDERICK DELIUS are three new works specially commissioned by the Society for the occasion, from leading contemporary composers BO HOLTEN, IAN VENABLES and RODERICK WILLIAMS.
PROGRAMME (there will be one interval)
Delius Two Songs for Children
Bo Holten The Delian Madrigal (premiere)
Delius Six Early Part-songs
Delius Violin Sonata No.2, arr. Viola (Lionel Tertis)
Ian Venables Hermes Trismegistus: Scena for soprano, viola and piano Op.53 (premiere)
Delius Two (recently discovered) Songs
Delius Six (newly discovered) Piano pieces
Delius – String Quartet (1889) – First Movement (Allegro assai)
Roderick Williams To be sung on a winter night on frozen water (after Delius) (premiere)
Delius arr. R. Williams
Milly Forrest, soprano
Roderick Williams, baritone
Timothy Ridout, viola
Chiao-Ying Chang, piano
The Carice Singers
Coull String Quartet
As a prolific composer and conductor of a cappella and choral music, Holten said of his new work; “‘The Delian Madrigal’ is a composition that expands and elaborates one of Delius’s ‘Two Songs for Children’. Performances are rare, and my recomposition/arrangement is a way to have this charming piece more often performed by madrigal groups or choirs.”
Closing the first half in suitably dramatic style is Ian Venables’s première. Set to a text by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and evoking the ancient mythical sage of the title, the narrator asks, “But where are the old Egyptian Demi-gods and kings?”; something the composer feels might have piqued Delius’s interest, for, in fact, Delius had already written a symphonic poem inspired by Longfellow; his Hiawatha. The music vividly transports the listener back to the land of the Pharaohs and to the image of the Sphinx staring “with mysterious, solemn, stony eyes”.
Better known as one of Britain’s most outstanding and best-loved baritone soloists, Roderick Williams’s reputation as a composer is growing steadily and his new première, ‘To be sung on a winter night on frozen water’, is a work of two contrasting halves, born out of lockdown while the composer was holed up in Amsterdam and when a cold snap caused the canals to freeze over.
“In paying tribute to Delius’s choral work, To be sung on a summer night on the water, my companion piece is also wordless, also in two parts, slow and wistful followed by an energetic, nonchalant folk dance, and also influenced by Delius’s French harmonies”, said Williams. “It’s a lot of fun”, he added, “… and a little bit naughty here and there!”
Chairman of the Delius Trust, Delius Society Vice President and BBC Broadcaster, Paul Guinery, will compère the programme, inviting each of the composers to introduce their new work.