The BBC Proms this year features two choral works by Edition Peters composers.
Ben Parry’s Flame, an uplifting setting for 12-part choir of a Garth Bardsley poem inspired by a Buddhist quotation, is performed on Sunday 5 August, featuring the massed voices of the Bach Choir, the BBC Singers, the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, and children’s choirs from London schools. The concert will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and available to listen again online for one week.
Flame’s central theme is one of light and happiness being passed from one person to another. Bardsley's lyrics are inspired by a quotation from Siddharta Gautama Buddha, suggesting the notion that a candle's light shared is thereby strengthened rather than diminished. The poem’s spiritual quality is captured perfectly in Parry's music, which starts with a single flickering melody, passed from upper to lower voices, and exploding into 12-part harmony as the flame is multiplied, culminating in the affirming final line so to light the world.
The world premiere of Julian Philips’s Sorowfull Songes, a setting of texts from the earliest anthology of English poetry, Tottel’s Miscellany (1557), was given by the chamber choir Tenebrae on Monday 23 July at Cadogan Hall and was well received by critics:
It’s gratifying to hear Wyatt’s brilliant texts set so deftly & sympathetically as this; Philips’ Sorowfull Songes is a splendid achievement, & a telling example of how words from an earlier age can speak with real clarity today. (5against4.com)
Philips’s response to the text is vivid throughout (ClassicalSource.com)
The choir projected the music’s tricky sidestepping harmonies with total confidence (The Telegraph)
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