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1 Aug 2014, Royal Albert Hall
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Proms 2014 Prom 20: Walton, Gurney & Sally Beamish

Prom 20: Walton, Gurney & Sally Beamish
Prom 20: Walton, Gurney & Sally Beamish
19:30 Fri 1 Aug 2014 Royal Albert Hall
Continuing our commemoration of the centenary since the outbreak of the First World War, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Martyn Brabbins explore English responses to conflict in Ivor Gurney’s War Requiem and Walton’s poignant First Symphony. Plus Sally Beamish’s accordion concerto.
Continuing our commemoration of the centenary since the outbreak of the First World War, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Martyn Brabbins explore English responses to conflict in Ivor Gurney’s War Requiem and Walton’s poignant First Symphony. Plus Sally Beamish’s accordion concerto.

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Commemorating 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War, the BBC Symphony Orchestra explores responses to conflict across three generations. Gassed while fighting in the trenches in 1917, Gurney never fully recovered. His War Elegy (1920) is a characteristically personal lament – heavy with bittersweet sadness and regret.

Sally Beamish's accordion concerto 'The Singing' will replace the earlier billed Violin Concerto, which has been cancelled due to performer illness. Originally premiered in 2006 by tonight's soloist, James Crabb, the piece commemorates the Highland Clearances. Meditating on the displacement of Scottish Highland communities in the 19th century to far shoreside allotments, and the emigration of yet others to the New World, Beamish use Gaelic psalm and working songs, bagpipe pibrochs and birdsong to give voice to the story.

While not explicitly programmatic, the slow movement of Walton’s First Symphony is among the 20th century’s most poignant orchestral cries of grief – an echo, perhaps, of horrors past, and a foreshadow of horrors yet to come.

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Proms 2014