City of Bristol Choir: Sing of Love

City of Bristol Choir - Sing of Love

City of Bristol Choir
Bristol Ensemble
David Ogden conductor
Marcus Farnsworth baritone

Jonathan Dove Sappho Sings
Jonathan Dove Our revels now are ended
Ralph Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music
Benjamin Britten Rejoice in the Lamb
Gerald Finzi Excerpts from Let us garlands bring
Ralph Vaughan Williams Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis
Finzi Fear no more the heat o’ the sun
Finzi It was a lover and his lass

The 100-strong City of Bristol Choir and Bristol’s professional orchestra present a wonderful celebration of love in words and music.

Marking the 60th birthday of Jonathan Dove, the concert features two of his most recent works performed in the presence of the composer: Our revels now are ended, an atmospheric setting of the immortal speech from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and Sappho Sings, a suite of passionate and atmospheric songs for choir and orchestra with poetry by the archaic female Greek poet Sappho in a new translation by Alasdair Middleton.

Sappho lived over 2,500 years ago. Of the thousands of lines of lyric poetry she is believed to have written, only a few hundred survive, and with the exception of one complete poem, all that remain are fragments.

Dove uses six fragments of text in the work. He described his excitement at the process of composing the piece, “As I started to explore these words musically, and imagine ways they could be sung by a choir accompanied by an orchestra, I found an exhilarating freedom in the sparseness: just three words, ‘You burn me’ might become a whole song.”

Four of the fragments are songs of love, in different forms; they are framed by an evocation of the goddess of love, and a vision of the moon. Rhythmic vibrancy, memorable melodies, and vivid orchestral colours all combine in a seductive work that dazzles and inspires.

Words from The Merchant of Venice are set in Vaughan Williams’ beautiful Serenade to Music and, in his great hymn of praise and love for all creation, Rejoice in the Lamb, Britten brings to life Christopher Smart’s idiosyncratic poem with character and vitality.

The award-winning baritone Marcus Farnsworth sings two of Finzi’s most popular Shakespeare settings: Fear no more the heat o’ the sun and It was a lover and his lass, and completing the programme is one of the most celebrated of all orchestral works, Vaughan Williams’ stirring Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis for string orchestra in a version made exactly 100 years ago.


First two rows of central stalls £23
Central and rear stalls £28
Central gallery £28
Side stalls £18
Front row of side gallery £23
Second row of side gallery £18
Third row of side gallery £15

How to book

• Book online at the City of Bristol Choir box office
• Telephone the City of Bristol Choir ticket line on 0117 950 7055

Or book online with St George’s box office online or by phone on 0845 40 24 001, or over the counter at St George’s. Please note that St George’s charges a booking fee of 5% for tickets ordered through their box office online or by phone.