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THREE BALLETS DIRECTED AND CHOREOGRAPHED BY ROBERT NORTH
From paintings of the Renaissance and the classical modernity Robert North draws the ideas for this opulent ballet evening, to which the Niederrheinische Sinfoniker give musical splendor.
Henri Matisse caused a sensation in the 1940s with a series of paper cutouts, including many circus motifs. He was no stranger to the circles of the European avant-garde when this cycle appeared under the title Jazz - an allusion to the principle of improvisation. Robert North approaches Matisse with the eye and the imagination of the choreographer and gains exciting impulses for the dance from the colorfulness, ornamentation and clarity of the images in combination with music by Stravinsky.
A popular subject in Florentine painting of the 15th century, which also Sandro Botticelli took up, is the Annunciation to Mary. Botticelli made this biblical scene so theatrically expressive that Robert North felt inspired by the painting and, in collaboration with the composer Howard Blake, freely interpreted The Annunciation as ballet.
30TH ORGAN FESTIVAL OPENING ST. ALBANS CATHEDRAL 13th JULY 2019
A concert of the music of Howard Blake obe fram, firstly celebrating his 80th year, secondly celebrating the opening of the 30th St Albans organ festival directed by David Titterington and thirdly recalling that Howard’s acclaimed oratorio 'Benedictus' was given its world premiere in St Albans Cathedral when conducted by Sir David Willcocks, sung by tenor Robert Tear, played by violist Frederick Riddle, withThe St Albans Bach and Cathedral Choirs and The English Chamber Orchestra with speaker, the very rev. the Dean of Saint Albans, (January 25th 1986). The programme planned for July 13th 2019 recalls this memorable concert but substantially adds to it:
1. THE RISE OF THE HOUSE OF USHER (2003) for solo organ (Dong ill-Shin,top prize-winning S.Korean organist) – A concert work originally commissioned by the Usher Hall Edinburgh to celebrate the restoration of their historic Father Willis organ and first performed there by Dame Gillian Weir on June 10th. 2003.
2.WALKING IN THE AIR (1982) sung by the internationally-acclaimed operatic tenor Peter Auty, who as a St. Paul’s chorister was selected by composer Howard Blake to record the definitive version of ‘Walking in the Air’ for his Oscar-nominated animation film and album of ‘The Snowman’. This concert astonishingly brings them back together for the very first time since that very memorable recording of 1982, .
3. 'SPEECH AFTER LONG SILENCE' (2009) a virtuoso piano work commissioned by Vladimir Ashkenazy for the world piano contest in Hong Kong 2009, here played by the brilliant young St. Albans piano prizewinner, Julian Trevelyan
4. SONGS OF TRUTH AND GLORY (2005) - Five poems of George Herbert, (opus 546) for chamber choir and ensemble, originally commissioned as The Elgar Commission for the Three Choirs Festival 2005, Here performed by a section of the St. Albans Bach Choir conducted by Andrew Lucas.
5. BENEDICTUS – A DRAMATIC ORATORIO (1986), was originally commissioned by Victor Farwell, Abbot of the Benedictine abbey of Worth in mid-Sussex, in order to celebrate the 1,500th birthday of St. Benedict in 1980, when it was performed by Richard Lewis (tenor), The Ditchling Choral Society and The National Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Janet Canetty-Clarke, with Frederick Riddle solo viola. It was extensively revised by the composer over the following five years to be given its first complete performance and world premiere at St Albans Cathedral on January 25th 1986 when it was conducted by Sir David Willcocks with Robert Tear (tenor) , Frederick Riddle (solo viola), The English Chamber Orchestra and The Saint Albans Bach Choir.
In this performance, which opens the 30th St Albans Organ Festival on July 13th 2019. The St. Albans Bach Choir (chorus-master Andrew Lucas) and The Orchestra of The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields will be conducted by the composer, with Peter Auty, solo tenor, Rosalind Ventris, solo viola and the role of Saint Benedict spoken by the Very Rev. Dr. Jeffrey John, Dean of St. Alban's.