Sunday Concert BBC NOW - Vaughan Williams, Berlioz, Ravel, Elgar BBC NOW - Vaughan Williams, Berlioz, Ravel, Elgar
Presented by Nicola Heywood Thomas The Romanesque church of St David's was built to house the shrine of the patron saint of Wales, nestling in a picturesque Pembrokeshire hillside, giving a magical setting for this concert given a week ago. Conductor Sian Edwards joins the orchestra for a concert of French and English music. The Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis by Vaughan Williams was written for performance in the grand acoustic of Gloucester Cathedral, so it is perfectly at home here, exploiting distant parts of the building for the "echo" orchestra. Mezzo-soprano Anna Stephany is no stranger to Wales. She represented England in the finals of BBC Cardiff Singer of the World in 2009. She joins us for the voluptuous and sensual song cycle Nuits d'ete by Berlioz, a romantic and passionate selection of love songs for summer nights. Ravel's Menuet antique started life as a charming piano minature, written soon after he left the Paris Conservatoire in 1895, many years later, Ravel returned to it and orchestrated it. Sian Edwards closes the concert with Elgar's Variations on an Original Theme (Enigma), a warm and affectionate set of musical portraits of Elgar's closest friends. First performed in 1899, it won immediate popularity and shot Elgar to the forefront of British music making. The rich orchestrations and ear-catching melodies remain as brilliant as ever, enhanced in this concert by the cathedral acoustic and the mighty St David's Cathedral organ.