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Space Time Matter Energy - Salisbury Chamber Chorus and Beaten Track Ensemble

Saturday June 10, 2017 at 7:30 pm
St Mary le Strand, London
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  1. Space Time Matter Energy - Simon McEnery

Space Time Matter Energy is a large-scale work for choir, percussion and piano that sets the words of eminent physicists and astronomers - Stephen Hawking, Sir Martin Rees, Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman, to name a few - to music by Simon McEnery, a composer of ‘ravishing harmonic opulence’ who creates ‘a rich tapestry of harmonic, melodic, motivic and rhythmic gestures’ according to American Organist magazine. It’s a piece that asks ‘What is the pattern, or the meaning, or the why?’ in a way many religious oratorios have done before. But this time the questions are couched as a scientific enquiry, from the Big Bang, through the nature of electrons and light, to space exploration, and how we see ourselves, tiny as we are in the vastness of what might be an infinity of multiverses.

McEnery explains: "It seemed to me that there were plenty of big choral pieces about where we come from or who we are, but they always seem to originate from a religious perspective. What I wanted to write was something about the universe and our place in it: from the big bang, through our insignificance in the vastness of it all, our need for exploration and where space travel will take us, to the nature of light or the make-up of electrons, and finally ideas about multiverses and infinity."

This first performance will feature the choir formed by McEnery six years ago, the 32-strong Salisbury Chamber Chorus, Guildhall-trained percussion ensemble Beaten Track and pianist Peter Toye.

Also a professional singer who appears with Welsh National Opera and English National Opera, McEnery has clear ideas about both the vocal and instrumental qualities needed for the work.

"I wanted to create a very specific atmosphere and timbre to complement the voices. And Beaten Track – Rosie Bergonzi, Dori Raphael, Beth Higham-Edwards, and Molly Lopresti – have embraced the project with great enthusiasm", says Simon. Alongside traditional instruments, the percussion score includes tuned Eastern bells called crotales, metal pipes and Swiss cow bells.

Salisbury Chamber Chorus, accompanied by Peter Toye, brings a rich, operatic style to its singing. "It’s known locally as 'the little choir with the big sound', so eminently well suited to the effects I wanted to create in this work", Simon adds.

"It’s been a lot of fun putting it together. All the physics stuff could sound a bit heavy, but I really want the piece to be entertaining as well as thought provoking, informative and even, I hope, moving. And the odd reference to seventies disco might take some people by surprise!"

St Mary le Strand
The Strand
This advertisement was submitted by Salisbury Chamber Chorus.
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