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Vaughan Williams: a Celebration

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David Hill – conductor
Elizabeth Watts – soprano
Roderick Williams – baritone
The Bach Choir


Vaughan Williams Overture, The Wasps Listen

Vaughan Williams The Garden of Proserpine Listen

— Interval —

Vaughan Williams A Sea Symphony Listen

The Bach Choir performs an all-Vaughan Williams programme to mark the 150th anniversary of the composer’s birth.

Ralph Vaughan Williams holds an unrivalled position in the history of British music, and in the hearts of many classical music fans. For The Bach Choir though, it’s personal – he sang in the choir for many years, and was their Music Director in the 1920s.

His overture The Wasps, commissioned for an Ancient Greek play but sounding quintessentially English, paves the way for a rare performance of The Garden of Proserpine. This work for orchestra, chorus and soprano sets a poem by Swinburne, atheist enfant terrible of late Victorian poetry. Vaughan Williams clothes Swinburne’s longing for the oblivion of death in music of great tenderness and beauty.

“Behold, the sea itself” – once heard, the magnificent opening bars of the Sea Symphony will not be forgotten. Chorus, soprano and baritone soloists and orchestra sing of ships and their captains, wind and waves, ocean voyages and the voyage of every human soul, in music so vivid you can almost taste the sea spray in the air.

Prices & Discounts

£13 – £65

Multi-buy offer available; under-18s and concessions discounts available; discounted tickets for students via Student Pulse (limited availability)

Running time:

2 hrs, including a 20 minute interval

Recommended age

From 7+

Programme notes

Programme notes will be available for purchase on the day.

Box office

Philharmonia Box Office: 0800 652 6717
Monday to Friday 10am – 5pm


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Southbank Centre
Belvedere Road

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