Last year’s unforgettable performance of Strauss’s Metamorphosen revealed the potential of the Minster’s 13th century Quire as an ideal space and acoustic in which to present the Festival’s outstanding body of string players.
This year three highly attractive works for string orchestra from the beginning, middle and end of the 20th century are contrasted with brief but arresting contributions from the Festival’s brass players. Arvo Pärt’s haunting Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten expresses his admiration for Britten, whose Les Illuminations announced the arrival of a genius: the song cycle, setting poems by Arthur Rimbaud, was written when Britten was still in his 20s. The concert ends with Vaughan Williams’ radiant and revolutionary Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis which was conceived with a cathedral acoustic in mind – in this case Gloucester Cathedral where it was premiered at the 1910 Three Choirs Festival.
Arvo Pärt Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten*
Benjamin Britten Les Illuminations, Op. 18*§
Ralph Vaughan Williams Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis†
Music for brass ensemble
Alison Rose§ soprano
Southwell Festival Chamber Soloists
*Conducted by Marcus Farnsworth
†Directed from the violin by Jamie Campbell