New work for chorus and orchestra premiered June 2012
Sea and Stars, a new work for chorus and orchestra with music by Julian Philips and text by Simon Christmas, was commissioned by the Ealing Choral Society to mark their 50th Anniversary, and as a companion piece to the Brahms Requiem. It will receive its world premiere on 16 June 2012 at the Cadogan Hall, London.
Like Brahms before them, Philips and Christmas recognise the power of choral music as an expression of the spiritual, but move that spirituality out of an explicitly Christian context. The result is a humanist ‘fable’ with the widest possible appeal for a religiously and culturally diverse audience. The imagery of that ‘fable’ also plays with the imagery of heaven and hell, so familiar from the traditional requiem, with the twist that life began in the fiery ‘hell’ around an undersea vent, while the starry spheres of ‘heaven’, perfect and unchanging as they may be, are therefore lifeless.
Philips has a strong track record of writing innovative pieces which push generic boundaries while remaining accessible to audiences – including past collaborations with Christmas such as Life Lessens, a dramatic monologue for mezzo and piano, and Followers, a promenade opera performed at Glyndebourne in their 2011 season.