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Showing posts from September, 2018
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Vaughan Williams:  Dona Nobis Pacem
On 10 November the Bury Bach Choir will sing Vaughan Williams’ hauntingly beautiful cantata Dona NobisPacem as part of our commemoration of the Armistice Centenary. The concert is supported by the Vaughan Williams Charitable Trust.
The cantata was commissioned in 1936 for the centenary of the Huddersfield Choral Society, and written amid growing fears of a new war in Europe.  The words come principally from the scriptures and the poetry of Walt Whitman, written during the American Civil War.
Whitman’s poetry seems to have had a profound fascination for British composers in the early 20th century, including Delius (Seadrift), Vaughan Williams (A Sea Symphony) and Holst (Ode to Death).  In 1911 Vaughan Williams began to compose a setting for Whitman’s Dirge for two veterans, but perhaps because he felt it was insufficient on its own, he put it away for 25 years, when it emerged as the solemn fourth movement of Dona NobisPacem, describing the moonlit buri…