Hertfordshire Chorus - James McCarthy : Codebreaker, a life in music

Hertfordshire Chorus - James McCarthy : Codebreaker, a life in music

Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 19:30

Hertfordshire Chorus is one of the finest and busiest choirs in the country. In recent months they have toured in and around Prague, celebrated the Queen’s Jubilee with a concert of coronation music at the Royal Festival Hall, joined the BBC Concert Orchestra in their The Rest is Noise concert series and staged one of the first concerts in London’s newest venue, Milton Court Concert Hall. Now the Chorus is premiering its latest commission, and two shorter pieces that have strong connections with it.

James McCarthy's Codebreaker celebrates the life of Alan Turing - mathematician, wartime codebreaker and pioneer of computer science. McCarthy sets existing text to music - speeches and texts from well-known poets (Wilfred Owen, Sara Teasdale, Walt Whitman, Oscar Wilde, Robert Burns) that reflect aspects of Turing’s life experiences. Soprano soloist Naomi Harvey provides the voice of Turing’s mother - a hugely important figure in his life. Codebreaker is by one of the UK’s most talented young composers.
James McCarthy received rave critical reviews for his previous major work, 17 Days, about the Chilean mining accident, premiered in 2012.

Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture, (Fingal's Cave), conveys the grandeur of the rocks, the swelling of the sea, the light on the water and the fury of the breaking waves. These very seas saw great U-boat activity in the war, and it was the naval Enigma codes that Turing broke at Bletchley Park.

In Vaughan Williams’s Toward the Unknown Region Whitman’s text gives voice to the hope for a better world that Americans and Britons envisioned for the new century. Vaughan Williams’s beautiful setting is as fresh and compelling today as when it was written, in 1906.

Beethoven's Meeresstille und Glückliche Fahrt (Calm Seas and a Prosperous Voyage) completes the programme with another reference to the dangers of the sea, but with a contrasting musical style

James McCarthy (1979-)
Toward the Unknown Region
Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
The Hebrides Overture
Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt (Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage)
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)


Barbican Hall
Silk Street
London EC2Y 8DS
United Kingdom
51° 31' 11.3232" N, 0° 5' 38.1084" W
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