'Wonderful evening by Phoenix Choir'
As mayor I attended the concert given by the Phoenix Choir to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams.
The concert in Trinity Church was well attended and the audience were in for a treat.
The music was great and offered proof what an outstanding hymn writer RVW was.
The setting of the George Herbert poems in Five Mystical songs was excellent and as I remarked at the end of the concert the third song was the poem “Love bade me welcome” was the poem we had read at our wedding in April 2015 at St Edwards.
The undoubted highlight was conductor Ashley and his son Joe’s playing of George Gershwin's “Rhapsody in Blue". I am sure that it will linger long in the memory.
I pointed out in my closing remarks the strong association that RVW had with North Staffordshire as his mother was a Wedgwood and in old age the composer bore a strong resemblance to his great great grandfather Josiah Wedgwood
So, I think the area can claim a pottery shard of the grand old man of English classical music
A wonderful evening with great singers and proof of the power of music in what is a very musical town.
Just before the Second War, Vaughan Williams set to music the words of Shakespeare from the Merchant of Venice which summed up our situation in Trinity on an October night:
"Here we will sit and let the sounds of music creep in our ears: soft stillness and the night become the touches of sweet harmony"
Cllr Bill Cawley Mayor of Leek
Originally written as a millennium project celebrating the past, the future and two thousand years of Christendom, New Gloria takes the original material of Vivaldi's Gloria and reworks it into contemporary pop. The material has been freely adapted to suit the new idiom - the original sacred text, dating from the ninth century, together with the energy of the modern grooves, creates an electrifying fusion full of both vigour and pathos.
Born out of the sacred text, Vivaldi's masterpiece moved and delighted the audiences of its day. Likewise, New Gloria, whilst not pretending to be a replacement or improvement on the original (nor should it), respectfully and intelligently places the work in the soundscape of the modern listener without dumbing down Vivaldi's inspired intent. As you listen, experience the awe and intimacy, the mystery and majesty and draw fresh inspiration from the music of Vivaldi's Gloria.