Holy Week 2019
Now that this blog has offered its traditional Preview of the music for this year's Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at King's College, Cambridge, England, and now that the college has posted the official service booklet (direct link to PDF) it seems meet and right to delve a bit deeper into the music at this year's service.
We begin this series with "The Flight" by Richard Causton
Richard Causton is currently a Fellow in Music at King's. In 2012, King's commissioned an Advent carol from Causton, "Out of your sleep". ("Richard Causton composes 2015 commissioned carol" from King's College; richardcauston.com)
The words of "The Flight" come from poet, and fellow blogger, George Szirtes. The blog reveals that Szirtes and Causton may be in the early stages of working on an opera together.
Szirtes himself came to England as a refugee (Poetry Foundation, Wikipedia), and the words of "The Flight" rely on this image. Its tragic repeated line haunts the entire poem: "we move on forever". These words take on extra significance given the extent of the present Syrian refugee crisis.
The lines "The sea is a graveyard / the beach is dry bones / the child…" may also give one great pause. The proximity of the world "child" to a beach of death conjures up one of the most significant photos in the news this year.
The child on the dirtpath finds the highway blocked The dogs at the entrance snarl that doors are locked The great god of kindness has his kindness mocked May those who travel light Find shelter on the flight May Bethlehem Give rest to them. The sea is a graveyard the beach is dry bones the child at the station is pelted with stones the cop stands impassive the ambulance drones We sleep then awaken we rest on the way our sleep might be troubled but hope is our day we move on for ever like children astray We move on for ever our feet leave no mark you won’t hear our voices once we’re in the dark but here is our fire this child is our spark.
On December 10 a report featuring an interview with Stephen Cleobury and choirboys aired on the BBC. The report also includes excerpts of "The Flight" in rehearsal. It starts at 40 min. 40 sec. in to the program World at One.
The reports from the boys are "difficult" and "glissandi".
"The story is about a small child, something that connects with peoples' experiences very strongly," Cleobury says in the interivew. "I think it's great to have something that is so strongly tied in to the contemporary scene."
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