Our Music at Lunchtime series concluded for the Spring term with a fantastic recital of British and German songs by Form 7 tenor, William.
The recital began with the first vocal movements from Handel’s Messiah, the recitative Comfort ye and aria Ev’ry valley. With words from the book of Isaiah, the text foretells the coming of Jesus and his salvation to Jerusalem. Indicative of Handel’s compositions, the aria features much challenging, melismatic writing, requiring great vocal skill which William demonstrated.
Next, we heard Total Eclipse from another of Handel’s operas, Samson. Total eclipse is perhaps the best-known aria from Samson, an oratorio composed soon after Handel completed Messiah. In this aria, Samson sings about the loss of his sight. The accompaniment is minimal, reflecting the solitude that Samson experiences. This passionate aria has a wide vocal range and features large intervals. The final two phrases convey a desperate Samson crying out for help. William successfully conveyed the deep emotion of the piece.
Today’s concert concluded with songs from Finzi’s Let us garlands bring. This cycle of five songs was written for Ralph Vaughan Williams’ birthday in 1942. The words are taken from Shakespeare plays: Come away death features text from Twelfth Night, Who is Sylvia from The Two Gentlemen of Verona and Fear no more the heat o’ the sun uses text from Cymbeline. These three pieces contrast greatly, displaying William’s musical maturity and fantastic storytelling.