Rimsky-Korsakov’s effervescent overture, whose actual Russian title is Bright Holiday, reflects his fascination with the legends and rituals of pagan and early Christian Russia. Awesome and majestic, it is imposing in its austerity in one moment, and in the next bursting with a spirit of primitive energy and revelry. Coleridge-Taylor’s recently rediscovered Solemn Prelude combines Elgarian nobility with Brucknerian grandeur, echoed in Balfour Gardiner’s lush, romantic anthem which is considered a classic of the English choral repertoire, whilst Strauss’ Morgen! is a rapturous love song of exquisite charm. Wagner reworked the Good Friday Music from Parsifal for performance in concert. The regal opening signifies Parsifal’s anointment as King of the Knights of the Holy Grail whilst the tenderest of music accompanies the repentance and baptism of Kundry, a type of Mary Magdalene figure, and Parsifal’s own rapture as he is imbued with the wonder of Good Friday. Fauré’s Requiem is typical of his work in its avoidance of melodrama or overblown effect.  His conception was intimate, far from the theatrics of previous interpretations – a singularly tranquil and subdued piece, extraordinary in its serenity and restraint.

Works and composers

Rimsky-Korsakov Russian Easter Festival Overture
Coleridge-Taylor Solemn Prelude
Balfour Gardiner Evening Hymn
R Strauss Morgen!
Wagner Good Friday Music from Parsifal
Fauré Requiem

In memory of

Canon & Mrs Ivor Jeffrey-Machin