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Wells Cathedral Oratorio Society: An English Pastoral

Saturday 25th June

19:00 - 21:30

Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music; The Lark Ascending; Five Mystical Songs; English Folk Song Suite

Handel Zadok the Priest

Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music was conceived in 1938 as a tribute to the conductor, Sir Henry Wood. The piece endures as a shimmering and sensuous celebration of music itself, set to the majestic words of Shakespeare.

The Lark Ascending is a perennial chart-topper and Vaughan Williams termed the piece a “pastoral romance for orchestra”. It is full of the folk melodies that the composer loved to collect, with those singing violin lines, mingling with the sounds of the earth before breaking free, rising to ever loftier heights. The mood is deeply nostalgic, and the composer’s writing evokes the glorious image of the rolling British countryside.

Five Mystical Songs is a setting of poems by George Herbert (1593 – 1633). Vaughan Williams was inspired throughout his life by much of the liturgy and music of the Anglican church, the language of the King James Bible, and the visionary qualities of religious verse such as Herbert’s. 

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