Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne

A Sea Symphony, composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams between 1903 and 1909 was that composer’s first and longest symphony, and helped set the stage for a new era of symphonic and choral music in Britain during the first half of the 20th century. The text of A Sea Symphony comes from the great American poet Walt Whitman. Vaughan Williams was attracted to Whitman’s verses for their ability to transcend both metaphysical and humanist perspectives. Vaughan Williams’ masterly handling of the massive orchestral and choral forces, the boldness, energy and stunning orchestration of A Sea Symphony vividly evokes the immensity and primal force of the sea. The work hailed the triumphant arrival of a new and powerful voice in  English music.

Benjamin Britten’s orchestral tour de force Four Sea Interludes come from his operatic masterpiece Peter Grimes, about a fisherman on England’s eastern coast, a misanthropic loner who is hounded to self-destruction by the townspeople after the mysterious, but accidental, deaths of two of his apprentices. The opera’s premiere was immediately recognized as a landmark for English opera. In the opera the Four Sea Interludes not only take the listener from one physical location to another, but also go inside the characters’ minds, which throughout the opera are full  of turmoil and doubt. This relentless tragedy evoked from Britten music of overwhelming power with a score that is high-tensioned, surging with dramatic force and orchestral violence, but also includes passages of sublime beauty and tenderness

Hear these two great masterpieces performed by over 300 passionate choral and orchestral musicians, two outstanding Australian soloists and dynamic RMP Chief Conductor Andrew Wailes, widely acknowledged as one of the country’s leading symphonic choral interpreters.


BENJAMIN BRITTEN Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes



Andrew Wailes , conductor

Antoinette Halloran, soprano

Simon Meadows, baritone

Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir

Melbourne University Choral Society

Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Orchestra



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