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The World Imagined

The Philharmonia Orchestra joins forces with The Bach Choir for a night of music that expresses both spirituality and sensuality.

In 1917 musical prodigy Lili Boulanger set a Buddhist prayer: ‘Let everything that breathes… all men and all women… be able to move freely, each in the path destined for them.’

It’s an apt and moving counterpart to Gabriel Jackson’s The World Imagined. Jackson, one of today’s foremost choral composers, sets poems spanning centuries and continents. Their common theme, he explains, is ‘the divine in everything around us.’

At its 2021 premiere, the work was acclaimed for its rich imagery, eloquent vocal writing and inventive orchestral textures.

Debussy’s evocation of a faun enjoying a sun-dappled afternoon is one of the most sensual pieces in the orchestral repertoire. Its dreamy, improvisatory flute melodies transport us to a world of fantasy and pleasure.

Poulenc’s single-movement Organ Concerto is scored for organ, strings and timpani. Influenced by Baroque organ music, Poulenc’s Catholic faith and the gathering storm clouds of the Second World War, it’s full of drama and contrasting emotions.

At the console of the magnificent Royal Festival Hall organ for this is Philip Scriven, who combines his role as assistant conductor of The Bach Choir with an international career as a soloist.

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