'BEHOLD, THE SEA'

Issue date: 06 March 2003


ISSUE DATE: 06/03/03

The University of the West of England celebrates ten years as a University with an exciting musical evening featuring the world premiere of a specially commissioned work by Derek Bourgeois and one of the largest choirs in the West.

‘Behold, the Sea’ on Saturday 29 March 2003 at the Colston Hall brings together the music of Vaughan Williams ‘A Sea Symphony’; Sir Arnold Bax, ‘Tintagel’; and the world premiere of ‘Seascapes’, commissioned by the University of the West of England from British composer Derek Bourgeois, who lectured in music in Bristol for 14 years and then became director of the National Youth Orchestra also based in the city.

The music will be performed by the UWE Singers and Symphony Orchestra joined by Cabot Choir, Chew Valley Choral Society and Bridgwater Choral Society. The soloists will be Julie Kennard (soprano) and Michael George (bass). The Conductor is Martin Freke from UWE’s Centre for Performing Arts.

Seascapes is an original piece of music for chorus, orchestra and soloists which provides the setting for three very different pieces of poetry chosen by Bourgeois – all linked to the theme of the sea. Seascapes will be conducted by Ian Holmes from UWE’s Centre for Performing Arts.

The combined choir will be around 300 strong and will come together for its first full rehearsal on 18 March at UWE’s Frenchay Campus.

The UWE choir has previously invited other choirs in the Bristol community to join with them for performances of Verdi’s ‘Requiem’ (in 1996) and Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius (1999).

Martin Freke says the evening will be exceptional in many ways, “We chose the theme of the ‘Sea’ because of all its important connections to the City of Bristol and of course UWE traces its origins back to many of the important institutions of Bristol such as the Merchant Venturers’ Navigation School. The commissioning of an original work is a new initiative for the University and we are looking forward to bringing this piece to the people of Bristol for the first time – it is particularly exciting as we have such a large choir drawn from communities in and around Bristol.”

Behold, the Sea, Saturday 29 March, 2003, 7.30pm, Colston Hall, Bristol

Further information and tickets available from: Colston hall Box Office 0117 922 3686 or UWE’s Centre for Performing Arts, 0117 344 2067, e-mail cpa@uwe.ac.uk.

-ENDS-

Editor’s notes

1. Jpeg images available: Julie Kennard, Michael George, and The UWE ‘combined’ choir performing Verdi’s Requiem. Contact Jayne.andrews@uwe.ac.uk, or call 0117 344 2874.
2. Derek Bourgeois (b.1941), was a Lecturer in Music at the University of Bristol from 1970 –1984. In 1984 he became Musical Director of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. In 1988 he founded the National Youth Chamber Orchestra of Great Britain. In 1990 he was appointed Artistic Director of the Bristol Philharmonic Orchestra. He has composed nine symphonies, ten concertos, nine major works for chorus and orchestra, two operas and other orchestral works. He has now retired and lives and works in Mallorca.
3. Ralph Vaughan Williams (1827-1958). Claimed by many to be the greatest English composer of the 20th Century, was born in Gloucestershire. ‘A Sea Symphony’ is descriptive of the sea in its many moods, with the second and fourth movements dwelling on more philosophical aspects of the sea – depicting the metaphor of the ocean voyager and the human soul voyaging through life to an unknown destination.
4. Sir Arnold Bax (1883-1953). Tintagel is a tautly constructed tone poem in the style of R Strauss but using the orchestral palette of Debussy with its highly atmospheric affects.

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