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Hereford Hosts World Premieres
Not only do we have three world premieres (two down and one to come on Thursday) but there’s a chance to hear pieces that aren’t heard often. That was certainly the case with Tuesday evening’s performance of Haydn’s ‘Die Jahrzeiten’ (that’s the Four Seasons to you and me). The fact that a national newspaper thought it was worthwhile to send a music critic to review the concert was a sure sign that it isn’t a piece that’s performed regularly.
The first of the hat-trick of premiere’s came during Evensong on Sunday, which included a new piece by former Hereford Chorister Patrick Dunachie. Then yesterday, composer John McCabe was in St Francis Xavier’s church for the first performance of his setting of ‘Woefully Arrayed’. It was part of a programme by the early music singing ensemble, Stile Antico. They and John McCabe richly deserved the warm applause of the almost 400 people who filled every corner of SFX.
The second McCabe premiere comes on Thursday when the evening audience in the Cathedral will be the first to hear the full orchestral version of his ‘Songs of the Garden, settings of poems which follow the changing pattern of the year. By now you’ll have spotted that this year’s Festival theme is ‘To everything there is a season’.
Back to the Haydn for a moment, it really is a monster work running to about two and a half hours. That of course is a test of stamina not just for the orchestra, soloists and chorus but for the audience as well.