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Sounds Sublime Festival: London

23/07/2022 | 4:00 pm

Louise Thomson (harp) and the Corvus Consort

Imogen Holst – Welcome Joy and Welcome Sorrow
Hilary Campbell – Our endless day
Esther Swift – Time Spinner
Amy Beach – Dusk in June
Gustav Holst – Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda (Third Group)
John Hearne – Alba

Performances by voices and harp are rarely heard beyond Britten’s wonderful Ceremony of Carols, despite how effective Britten shows this pairing to be in his famous work. This rich and varied programme offers a wide array of musical styles and moods, showcasing the broad range of excellent music that is available to this combination.

Several members of the Holst family had been harpists and distinguished harp teaches, so it is no surprise that Imogen Holst and her father Gustav Holst wrote so well for the instrument, and multi-movement works by both Holsts frame the programme. Imogen’s ‘Welcome Joy and Welcome Sorrow’ is a set of six short and atmospheric settings of poems by John Keats, composed for the Aldeburgh Festival and first performed there in 1951. Gustav’s ‘Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda’ date from his period of intense interest in the religious literature and poetry of India, around 1900-1915, during which time he enrolled at UCL to study Sanskrit so that he could produce his own translations, designed specifically for musical setting, of ancient Indian texts like the Rig Veda. His third ‘group’ of choral hymns is scored for upper voices and harp, and contains four highly-evocative hymns in praise of various different Vedic deities.

The programme is articulated by Amy Beach’s ‘Dusk in June’ for a cappella voices and Esther Swift’s captivating harp solo ‘Time Spinner’, first performed at the Edinburgh International Harp Festival in 2019. Works by living composers are also featured, with Hilary Campbell’s beautiful ‘Our Endless Day’ – whose text is drawn from ‘Revelations of Divine Love’ by 14th-century ascetic Julian of Norwich – and John Hearne’s ‘Alba’, a dawn-song to waken sleeping lovers, whose refrain text is one of the earliest-surviving fragments of Provençal.

The Corvus Consort is a vocal ensemble based in the UK. Founded and directed by Freddie Crowley (a member of the 2018-19 cohort of Genesis Sixteen), the group draws its members from a pool of young professionals in the early stages of their singing careers. With key objectives of musical versatility and innovative programming, the Consort performs in a wide variety of genres and styles, stretching from the Renaissance to the present day, and enjoys a range of instrumental collaborations.

“The Corvus Consort is a marvel: glorious voices, expressive singing, highly creative and imaginative programming, inspired direction!”
— Simon Carrington (founder member of the King’s Singers)

Louise Thomson’s playing has taken her to prestigious concert venues around the UK including the Royal Albert Hall, St David’s Hall in Cardiff and Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. It has also given her the opportunity to perform with some of the country’s most respected ensembles: the Hallé Orchestra, Manchester Camerata, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra and Manchester Concert Orchestra. She made her television debut performing live on BBC 1 for the Heaven and Earth show with soprano Katherine Jenkins.

“Louise Thomson is a consummate performer. Fluid technique combined with beautiful artistry, compelling programmes, excellent and clear spoken introductions and a personality that audiences love.”
— Craig Ogden



4:00 pm
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Kings Place, London
90 York Way London N1 9AG England
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Sounds Sublime Festival
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