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A unique opportunity for Vaughan Williams fans (May 30, Minneapolis)

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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-28-09 09:10 PM
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A unique opportunity for Vaughan Williams fans (May 30, Minneapolis)
Come hear the world premiere of a work by a composer who has been dead for 51 years.

When Ralph Vaughan Williams was a "reading" (majoring in) music at Cambridge, he was assigned to write a five-part piece in the Baroque style with orchestration. He chose the Holy Week text "Vexilla regis prodeunt" ("The King's banners go forth") and set it for five-part chorus, soprano solo, and string orchestra.

When our choir director was back in England a couple of years ago, he found the manuscript lying around in some collection in Cambridge and decided to edit and publish it and conduct the first-ever performance.

That performance, by the St. Mark's Cathedral Choir (the one I'm in, the first-string choir) and the St. Mark's Choral Society (a non-auditioned community group) will take place on Saturday, May 30, at 7:30PM at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral, overlooking Loring Park in downtown Minneapolis.

The piece is more of a curiosity than anything else, with the parts awkwardly written at times, and a sometimes jarring mixture of styles, and it doesn't sound much like the rest of Vaughan Williams' work, since this was before he went out collecting the English folk songs that would influence so much of his later work. However, it's good enough that you'd say, "Hmm, we're going to be hearing from that Vaughan Williams kid in the coming years."

"Vexilla Regis" is on a program with Vaughan Williams' more mature work (late 1930s) "Serenade to Music" and Franz Joseph Haydn'd "Lord Nelson Mass."

Oh, as an added incentive, there's always a reception with sherry and delicious and unusual finger foods afterwards.
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