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Thomas Hardy : Wessex Love Songs

Friday May 27, 2022 at 18:30
Holy Trinity Church, Minchinhampton, Minchinhampton
£10, £15, £20; parent/grandparent and child (free ticket)
Phone for tickets: 0333 666 3366
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Tickets "at the door" - until sold out
  1. Elegies for Emma (poems of 1912-14) - Arthur Keegan-Bole, words by Thoams Hardy
  2. The Echo Elf Answers, for soprano and guitar - Kerry Andrew
  3. Beeny Cliff, from Three Dedications - Betty Roe
  4. A Distant Door, for mezzo-soprano and guitar - David Gow
  5. At the Railway Station, Upway (or The Convict and Boy with the Violin), from Winter Words Op 52 - Benjamin Britten
  6. It never looks like summer, from Till earth outwears Op 19 - Gerald Finzi
  7. Regret not me - Henry Handel Richardson
  8. If it's ever spring again - Robin Milford
  9. Weathers - Imogen Holst
  10. In the black winter morning - Ivor Gurney
  11. The Market Girl - Sir Arnold Bax
  12. I will give my love an apple, from Folksong arrangements - Benjamin Britten
  13. The Nightingale - Cecil Sharp
  14. Come again! Sweet love doth now invite - John Dowland
  15. An evening hymn on a ground, 'Now that the sun hath veiled his light' Z 193 - Henry Purcell

"Up against [a] dark background the west front of the church tower... rose distinct and lustrous, the vane upon the summit bristling with rays."
Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd (1874)

For well over a century, composers, perhaps most famously, Gerald Finzi, Benjamin Britten and Arnold Bax, have been fascinated in setting Thomas Hardy's poetry and prose to music. To celebrate this century-long association, ‘Wessex Love Songs’ places settings of Hardy’s words alongside core repertoire from the English tradition of song.

The programme showcases the intimate combination of guitar and singer which has been a cornerstone of the English tradition since the renaissance. Many of the arrangements have been especially prepared for this concert and combination, providing an opportunity to hear afresh well-known works, including a world premiere, Arthur Kegan-Bole’s ‘Elegies for Emma’, which sets the great poems of 1912 to 1913 written shortly after the death of Hardy's first wife, Emma.

This programme is a celebration not only of English song but also of the English countryside and, in particular, the rural church as the inspiration for song and the focus of country life. Here connections with Hardy abound. Hardy loved hymns. He grew up with church and lived surrounded by music which featured in all aspects of life, from services in church to social occasions. These elements of rural life Hardy incorporated into his novels which include descriptions and accounts of travelling groups of church musicians to the singing of tradition folk songs. In Tess of the d’Urbevilles, Hardy used folk music to symbolise the link between Tess’ past and present and so we are reminded of both the continuity of the country church at the centre of our communities and the heritage of music and architecture that we treasure and love.

Holy Trinity Church, Minchinhampton
Church Lane

This advertisement was submitted by Music in Country Churches.
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