Saturday 29 June 2013, 00:31
A few days ago BBC Singers' senior producer Michael Emery received an unusual request from one of the Baltic states ...
Last week the BBC Singers were asked – along with other European choirs – if we would send a greeting to the 2013 Latvian National Song and Dance Festival. This extraordinary event, held every five years, brings together vast numbers of people, in huge choirs, to sing in an enormous outdoor arena in Riga. 18,000 voices is a typical number for the massed choral forces involved, and the celebrations – tied in as they are to folk singing - are an important part of the national and cultural patrimony of both Latvia (one of the most chorally-committed nations on the planet) and the Baltic States.
Thinking that it would be nice to send a greeting which was itself musical, Gabriel Jackson – our most recent Associate Composer – agreed to set the name of the Singers to music and quickly penned a harmonisation. Yesterday Kevin McMullin filmed and edited our performance at St Giles, Cripplegate, with Chief Conductor David Hill. and we have just despatched the result to Latvia, where – we’re told – it’ll be played regularly on the designated festival TV channel, on the three big screens which will relay live coverage of the event in the city, and possibly even on Latvian national TV.
Here's the video of Gabriel's BBC Singers Latvia greeting:
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