New Commissions for RVW150

Throughout the 150th anniversary celebrations a special series of new works responding to RVW’s music, ideas, or life, are being performed round the country. All the commissions were supported by the RVW Trust. 2022 saw new works for brass band (by Philip Wilby for Brass Bands England), a dramatic cantata (by Julian Philips and Rebecca Hurst for Nova Music Trust and Presteigne Festival) and a songcycle written to partner RVW's Songs of Travel by composer Sarah Cattley setting poems by his cousin, Frances Cornford (performed by Roderick Williams and Susie Allan and jointly commissioned by Thaxted Music Festival and Music at Paxton Festival.)

Looking ahead to 2023:

New Commissions for RVW150

Coming together to sing

Grace-Evangeline Mason, working with the Royal Philharmonic Society, is writing a new choral piece suitable for both professional and amateur choirs inspired by the music, ideas and life of RVW. The piece will be a 12-to-15-minute work for a large choir of mixed voices, up to 150 singers, with accompaniment from piano and a solo stringed instrument. Its premiere performance will be in June 2023 by the 2021 RPS Inspiration Award winners Bristol Choral Society and their Music Director Hilary Campbell. RVW received the Gold Medal of the Royal Philharmonic Society in 1930 and was commissioned by the RPS to write his 9th Symphony.

New Commissions for RVW150

Orchestral sonorities

The music of award-winning Bedford-based composer James B Wilson focuses on the rich textural, timbral and harmonic possibilities of acoustic instruments, and utilises sweeping strings. His RVW150 commission is from the Cheltenham Festival and he will write a work for the CBSO, to be premiered on 8 July in the opening concert of the 2023 Festival in Cheltenham Town Hall.

New Commissions for RVW150

What the lark saw

The Three Choirs Festival, in RVW's home county of Gloucestershire, will present a new community led creative programme in 2023 to conclude the RVW150 celebrations. What the Lark Saw combines different strands of RVW’s work, taking musical ideas from The Lark Ascending and folk song, and inspiration from Wordsworth’s description of the lark as a ‘pilgrim of the sky’. On a modern pilgrimage, the project will travel out into communities to collect stories and ‘present day folk tales’ to be used as the source of creative responses (working with a collective of local artists, writers and performers). Bringing together these responses will be a central song cycle/cantata created by Gloucestershire-based composer Liz Lane.

As one of the great symphonists of the 20th century, Ralph Vaughan Williams had an extraordinary impact on British music.



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