Monday, June 15, 2015

Schola to sing at Westminster Abbey

On Tuesday 16 June the Schola will sing Evensong at Westminster Abbey, the third time that the Schola has sung at the Abbey this School year.  The service starts at 5 pm and is open to all. The Schola will sing music by Walton, Noble and Jonathan Dove. 

The work by William Walton (pictured below) is his beautiful setting of a text from the Song of Solomon, Set Me as a Seal Upon Thy Heart, which was composed in 1938.

This short piece was written for the wedding of a friend of Walton's companion at the time, Lady Alice Wimbourne, thought by many to have been the true love of his life. When  Lady Wimbourne died at a young age Walton was said to have never really recovered, emotionally at least. This piece, with its text declaring that love will overcome death, seems all the more poignant when one considers the circumstances surrounding its creation. Walton captured his feelings for Alice Wimbourne most extensively in his extraordinary Violin Concerto.

The piece by Jonathan Dove is perhaps his most famous anthem, Seek him that maketh the seven stars.  Of the work, composed in 1995, Dove has written that ‘the theme of light, and starlight in particular, is an endless source of inspiration for composers’. The anthem was commissioned by the Friends of the Royal Academy of Arts for their annual service in St James’s Church, Piccadilly in London, and Dove thought that these images would also have a special meaning for visual artists. The organ part creates a musical image of the night sky with its twinkling stars which he says ‘sets the choir wondering who made them. The refrain “Seek him” starts in devotional longing but is eventually released into a joyful dance, finally coming to rest in serenity.’


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