Not normally my thing, but the composer has set a couple of my translations of the German Thirty Years War poets Andreas Gryphius and Paul Fleming. St Albans, 19 November.
"Born in Flight, a new cantata by leading young composer Alexander Flood, will receive its world premiere as part of the concert by Radlett Choral Society at 7.30pm on Saturday 19 November in St Saviour's church, Sandpit Lane, St Albans. It sets three poems dating back to one of the most horrific conflicts in European history, the Thirty Years' War. That conflict was fought for complex reasons both political and religious four hundred years ago between all the great powers of the time. It laid waste to vast areas of what is now Germany. Imagine a war lasting from the start of WW1 to the end of WW2 in which proportionally twice as many people died as both world wars combined and we get a sense of the carnage that scarred the psyche of the German people for centuries.
The poetry of Born in Flight, in translations by the Welsh poet and novelist Sheenagh Pugh, reflects the typically matter-of-fact response of people of the time to the uncertainty and transience of life. The final section of the cantata sets a lament for a baby born as a refugee who died only a few days old. There are clear parallels between that time in Europe and today in the Middle East, and the rich sounds of the cantata combine elements of music from both time periods.
Composer Alexander Flood, who will also be conducting the performance, says ‘Serious composers today sometimes find it difficult to write music that can connect with and move an audience. I hope that Born in Flight can spark across from the performers to the listeners and provide a memorable and dramatic expression of poetry that is as relevant to our lives today as when it was written’.
The concert also includes two profound compositions by Gabriel Fauré, and J.S. Bach’s exquisite Cantata 18. Fauré’s Requiem is his best known works, described by the composer as ‘dominated from beginning to end by a very human feeling of faith in eternal rest’. At the age of nineteen, Fauré composed the music for Racine’s text in his ‘Cantique de Jean Racine’ for a competition at the school of church music he attended in Paris, which won him first prize.
Radlett Choral Society and the Mariana Ensemble, with Soprano Sarah Gabriel and Bass Samuel Evans, will be conducted by Alexander Flood.
Tickets at £12, accompanied children under 16 free, are available from RCS Box Office 01923 226836/243545, or on the door."