DIANA WREN: The choir is very busy this festive season

Composer Adrian Bawtre

Composer Adrian Bawtre

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PORTSMOUTH Festival Choir recently travelled to Canterbury Cathedral to sing with two other choirs in a newly extended work called Remembrance.

Written by Adrian Bawtree, formerly musical director at St Mary’s Church, Portsea, it was performed by the choir in 2014 for the centenary of the beginning of the First World War.

Since then the composer has re-written and extended the piece.

The Festival Choir will be performing it again, this time in Portsmouth, at St Thomas’ Cathedral on Saturday at 7.30pm.

Remembrance recalls public attitudes at the time of the First World War.

The first movement begins with a slow march and is about the general mobilization of troops.

The second is about sunset, roll call and the soldiers’ feelings on the eve of battle.

The third orchestral movement vividly pictures the horrors of the battlefield.

The fourth movement considers the dreadful death toll and the role of poppies in remembering the fallen.

This very moving work is being paired with a much more joyful piece, Britten’s Saint Nicolas.

This tells the story in music of the life and exploits of Saint Nicolas, popularly known as Santa Claus.

The role of the adult Nicolas will be taken by Austin Gunn, who also sings the tenor solo in Remembrance.

The boy Nicolas and the small boys in the tale of The Pickled Boys will be sung by young members of the Cathedral Choir.

The programme is completed by three works by Holst for choir and orchestra.

The choir is very busy in this festive season.

On Sunday, December 11, at 4pm, they will sing Christmas Music by Candlelight at St James’s Church, Milton, accompanied by the Praetorius Recorder Ensemble,

The programme will include Vaughan Williams’ lovely Fantasia on Christmas Carols.

Tickets for both events are now on sale from choir members and online fromticketsource.co.uk.

Tickets can also be purchased on the door.

Diana Wren is the press officer for Portsmouth Festival Choir

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