Dona nobis pacem: a cantata for Soprano and baritone Soli, chorus and orchestra
Sancta Civitas: An Oratorio for baritone and tenor soli, chorus, semi-chorus, distant chorus and orchestra
Christina Pier, soprano
Andrew Staples, tenor
Matthew Brook, baritone
The Bach Choir
Winchester Cathedral Choristers
Winchester College Quiristers
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Although Vaughan Williams described himself as ‘a cheerful agnostic’, he was not only steeped in the traditions of the Anglican Church, but sensitive to the mystical significance ‘of what lies beyond sense and knowledge’.
Written in 1936, his cantata Dona nobis pacem sets powerful Biblical texts alongside those by Walt Whitman and John Bright and is both a warning that mankind was sliding disastrously towards another war and a plea for a world without strife.
The oratorio Sancta Civitas, one of his most original choral works, strikingly deploys vocal and orchestral forces to depict the battle between good and evil from the Book of Revelation.
"Hill and his singers and players brought off the tone of the piece perfectly, conveying RVW's complex, polytonal vision in a capable performance… the singers were both thrilling in the louder moments and austerely beautiful in the quieter ones. The Bach Choir also supplied the polished chamber choir; Winchester Cathedral Choir and Winchester Quiristers supplied the atmospheric boys choir.” Music and Vision on a concert performance of the Sancta Civitas