Hilary Davan Wetton

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Vaughan Williams and Ravel

Thursday 10 November 2022, 19:30

Past Event
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Past Event


Ravel Menuet antique
Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music
Ravel Le tombeau de Couperin
Vaughan Williams Dona nobis pacem


Hilary Davan Wetton conductor
Anita Watson soprano
Maya Colwell mezzo-soprano
John Cuthbert tenor
Ashley Riches baritone
City of London Choir
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

A moving performance of works which evoke the futility of war and destruction and the final concert in a series with the City of London Choir and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra which explores the ground-breaking work of Ralph Vaughan Williams in a European context.

This concert pairs Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music with music by his teacher Ravel. Written in 1938, Serenade to Music has an atmosphere of shimmering contentedness that belies the prevailing tension of the time. In contrast Ravel’s Le tombeau de Couperin was written throughout the First World War and each movement is dedicated to a friend of Ravel’s who was killed in the conflict.

Storm clouds were already brewing in Europe in 1936 when Vaughan Williams wrote Dona nobis pacem, a powerful musical evocation of the destruction and death brought about through war and violence. A deeply affecting and dramatic work, it speaks vividly of the harshness and cruelty of war, and also captures the mood of its own time in an anguished, pre-emptive lament for what was about to come. As Simon Heffer puts it, Dona nobis pacem ‘confirms that this is now a composer whose main inspiration is drawn not from the soil of England, but from the whole world going mad around him’. The cantata ends on a note of reconciliation and hope transcending nations and borders, binding Vaughan Williams to humanity everywhere.

Duration: approx. 1 hour 45 mins (incl. 20-minute interval)

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