British Music for Small Orchestra

Program & Artists

7:30 PM Pre-concert talk with Imani Mosley
8 PM Performance

Ralph Vaughan Williams Five Variants of “Dives and Lazarus”
Edward Elgar Serenade for Strings, Op. 20 
Ralph Vaughan Williams Flos Campi (1925)
Grace Williams Elegy for String Orchestra
Ralph Vaughan Williams The Lark Ascending
Peter Warlock Capriol Suite
Frederick Delius Two Aquarelles
Gustav Holst St. Paul’s Suite, Op. 29, No.2

James Bagwell conductor
Zachary Schwartzman conductor
Luosha Fang viola
Bella Hristova violin
members of the Bard Festival Chorale
James Bagwell choral director


Presented by the Bard Music Festival

The Bard Music Festival returns for its 33rd season with an exploration of the life and work of Ralph Vaughan Williams, one of the greatest symphonists of the 20th century.

Program Seven celebrates the flowering of British orchestral writing in the first half of the last century. Vaughan Williams was not alone in drawing inspiration from his homeland’s Tudor roots; Warlock’s Capriol Suite is a charming Renaissance dance pastiche, while the final movement of Holst’s St. Paul’s Suite plays on the famous “Greensleeves” melody. Also on the program are works by Elgar, Delius, and under-sung Welsh composer Grace Williams, a star student of Vaughan Williams, who is himself represented by three very different works. Scored for harp and strings, his Five Variants of “Dives and Lazarus” take their modal sonorities from the haunting folk melody that inspired them. Meditative and impressionistic, with pentatonic patterns that set its solo violin free to soar, The Lark Ascending is now in its second decade at the top of Classic FM’s annual audience poll. By contrast, Flos Campi is seldom programmed and persistently misunderstood; scored for solo viola, chorus, strings, and brass, this wordless setting of erotic verses from the biblical Song of Solomon is lush, sensuous, and boldly bitonal.

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