A FESTIVAL OF BRITTEN’S MUSIC
at Great Yarmouth Minster St. Nicolas at St Nicholas
Monday 24 June at 7.30pm
Tickets: £5 on the door; concessions free
On Monday 24 June, choirs from seven Norfolk primary schools and four high schools will come together at the Minster Church of St Nicholas, Great Yarmouth (the largest parish church in the country) for a festival of Benjamin Britten’s music. The massed school choirs will be supported by an orchestra made up of instrumental tutors from Norfolk Music Service, members of Norfolk County Youth Orchestra and Great Yarmouth Choral Society. The conductor is John Stephens, who is organist at Great Yarmouth Minster, conductor of Norfolk Intermediate Youth Orchestra and a UEA tutor.
The works by Britten to be performed are: the cantata St Nicolas (written for Peter Pear’s old school, Lancing College) – the role of St Nicolas will be sung by the leading tenor soloist, Paul Smy; a selection from Friday Afternoons (a collection of songs written for Britten’s schoolmaster brother’s preparatory school choir); Jubilate Deo; Playful Pizzicato from Simple Symphony (premiered in Stuart Hall, Norwich – now Cinema City, and conducted by Britten. The concert concludes with Britten’s arrangement of the National Anthem, written for when the Queen opened the new Snape Maltings in 1967. There are opportunities for audience participation in the concert.
David O’Neale (of Familiar Fields – celebrating Britten’s centenary in Norfolk and Suffolk) commented: ‘We chose 24 June as the date for the concert at St Nicholas because it was on this day in 1942 that the church was destroyed by enemy bombing. It was rebuilt and re-consecrated in 1961. There are parallels here with Coventry Cathedral which in 1941 was destroyed in the Blitz.
A year after St Nicholas reopened, Britten was commissioned to compose the War Requiem to coincide with the consecration of the new Coventry Cathedral.’