St George's Singers, Poynton continue their busy season on 23rd February 2013 at the Royal Northern College of Music with a concert to celebrate the choral music of Benjamin Britten in his centenary year. The Choir is joined in this Britten celebration by the Eblana String Trio and oboist David Curington.
Britten was the most original and versatile English composer of his generation, writing many well loved works in such varied genres as orchestral, choral, solo vocal, chamber and instrumental, as well as film music. He also took a great interest in writing music for children and amateur performers, such as his children's opera Noye's Fludde, which was performed to packed audiences in Poynton by school children and local choirs, including St George's Singers, in 2010.
In this centenary concert the music performed by St George's Singers ranges from his first choral work, A hymn to the Virgin, composed in 1930 at the age of sixteen, to his more mature works Antiphon, and two of Britten’s most popular choral pieces, Rejoice in the Lamb and Hymn to St Cecilia.
The text for the cantata Rejoice in the Lamb is taken from a poem by the eighteenth century poet Christopher Smart, who was in an asylum when he wrote it, having been committed there by his father-in-law for apparent religious mania. The tortured mind of the poet is clear in the chaotic text and reflected in Britten's dramatic setting. The main theme is the worship of God, by all living things, each in its own way.
Britten wrote his Hymn to St Cecilia between 1940 and 1942, while exiled in the United States as a conscientious objector during the second world war. New York Customs had confiscated the first section, thinking the work might be some type of code, and so Britten re-wrote the manuscript from memory on the voyage home. The text is a poem written for Britten and dedicated to him by W.H. Auden. It is an a cappella work which has been described as a double entendre, for the music and lyrics are aesthetic, spiritual, innocent yet also sensual, even at times erotic.
The Eblana String Trio began playing together as students at the RNCM and now regularly perform throughout the UK. Together with oboist David Curington they were named the 2010 RNCM Ensemble of the year. In this concert they will perform Britten's Metamorphosen after Ovid and Phantasy Quartet for Oboe and Strings.
Tickets for the Britten at 100 concert are £14, £12 concessions and £5 for students and children. Group discounts are also available. Tickets are available from Dave Francis 01663 764012, firstname.lastname@example.org or online at the Choir's website, www.st-georges-singers.org.uk. Coach transport is available from Poynton and from Hazel Grove.