Behold, the sea! WFCS markes Vaughan Williams’s 150th anniversary with major concert at Worcester Cathedral

9th of October, 2022

Hundreds of music lovers dove into a special, sea-themed concert at Worcester Cathedral on Saturday 26 November at 7.30pm, when a 130-strong chorus from Worcester Festival Choral Society – one of the region’s most respected choirs – performed one of Ralph Vaughan Williams’s great choral works to mark his 150th birthday. 

The concert included two, early-20th century English choral masterpieces, both paying homage to the ocean and set to verses from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass poetry collection. Top of the bill was Vaughan Williams’ first and best-loved choral symphony, A Sea Symphony – re-staged by popular demand after the Choral Society’s originally planned, sell-out 2020 performance of the work had to be cancelled when the pandemic first struck. 

Ben Cooper, Chairman of Worcester Festival Choral Society, said: “We were thrilled to be able to perform A Sea Symphony at last. Listening to it really is like taking a musical voyage. You can picture every aspect of the ocean, from the opening brass fanfare announcing that first glimpse of the sea, to the final, distant notes disappearing over the horizon.” 

The concert also included Sea Drift by Frederick Delius, a moving story of lost love set against a seascape backdrop. Also performing were renowned soprano Sarah Fox (pictured right, at a past WFCS concert) and baritone Andrew Mayor. The Meridian Sinfonia symphony orchestra accompanied, and Worcester Cathedral’s Director of Music Samuel Hudson conducted.

The Choral Society’s two other concerts in its 22-23 season are Handel’s Messiah on 10 December, and Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius on 18 March 2023; both at Worcester Cathedral, 7.30pm.




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