Jenkins choral highlights from Eisteddfod to Olympics(June 2012)
July brings three major choral performances by Karl Jenkins, including Gods of Olympus in the Cultural Olympiad's London 2012 Inspire programme.
Three consecutive days in July bring Karl Jenkins performances to three major UK choral platforms, the International Eisteddfod in Llangollen, the Royal Festival Hall and the Royal Albert Hall in London, including premieres of two new works.
Jenkins's recent work for choir and large ensemble, The Peacemakers, receives its second Welsh performance on 6 July at the International Eisteddfod in Llangollen. The 200 strong SATB choir, featuring The Sirenian Singers, Côr Caerdydd, The South African Fezeka Choir and the newly formed Llangollen International Eisteddfod Chorus, unite to deliver this unique message of piece. The winner of the Cardiff Singer of the World 2011, Valentina Nafornita, is the special guest singer and outstanding young cellist, Steffan Morris, joins Karl Jenkins to lead the Llangollen International Eisteddfod Orchestra as they perform publicly for the very first time. Côr y Cwm and Côr Ieuenctid Môn also join forces to create an 80 member children’s choir. A Jenkins UK premiere, his cantata The Bards of Wales, is presented by The National Eisteddfod on 4 August at Llandow near Cowbridge, featuring soloists Dennis O’Neill and Rebecca Evans and the 200-strong Eisteddfod Choir.
> International Eisteddfod
> National Eisteddfod (PDF)
On 7 July Jenkins's A Hero's Journey, for male voice choir and brass band, is premiered at the Royal Festival Hall in London. This new 15-minute work setting texts by Grahame Davies is part of a four-day celebration of Welsh music-making at the Southbank Centre presented by internationally acclaimed bass-baritone Bryn Terfel. The performance is also part of the Wales: Choir of the World concert, featuring a 500-voice choir brought together by the London Welsh Male Voice Choir, with accompaniment provided by world champion brass group The Cory Band conducted by Paul Bateman.
Karl Jenkins’s new work for choir and orchestra, Gods of Olympus, is premiered at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 8 July, providing a major musical highlight of the Cultural Olympiad’s London 2012 Inspire programme. This is the second commission from The Really Big Chorus following their successful performances of Jenkins's The Armed Man and his Gloria, commissioned and premiered in 2010. The Really Big Chorus has invited choral singers from its 30,000 membership to perform the premiere of the 20-minute work, conducted by Brian Kay, making it one of the largest music participation events linked to the Olympics.
Karl Jenkins describes his exploration of Greek mythology in Gods of Olympus: "I have based this piece on ancient Greece, birthplace of the Olympic games. The movements are inspired by four of the twelve Olympians, the mythical Gods that dwelt on Mount Olympus: Zeus, Ruler of Olympus; Hermes, the Winged Messenger; Aphrodite, Goddess of Love; and Hephaestus, Blacksmith and Fire-God." The work follows Jenkins’s Songs of the Earth, also exploring Greek mythological themes, which was premiered by Welsh choral forces and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in the Music Nation weekend in March, providing an upbeat to this summer’s Cultural Olympiad events. The vocal score for Gods of Olympus will be published by Boosey & Hawkes in September and available to choirs for future programming.
> The Really Big Chorus
The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad is the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements.
> London 2012 Cultural Olympiad
> Boosey & Hawkes at the Cultural Olympiad
> Further information on Work: Gods of Olympus
Photo: the vocal score of Gods of Olympus
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