Radio 3 in Concert

Easter Festival

Easter Festival



Nicola Heywood Thomas presents a concert recorded at BBC Hoddinott Hall in Cardiff to mark Easter, with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales performing a programme of music for the most important weekend in the Christian calendar. Jonathon Heyward takes the podium first, beginning with Rimsky-Korsakov's Bright Holiday, known in the West as his Russian Easter Festival Overture, in which he depicts the distinctive character of a busy Easter morning service in a Russian Orthodox cathedral. Next is Percy Grainger's Blithe Bells, his meditation on an aria in which he reasoned that Bach had the sound of sheep bells in mind, and shaped his version accordingly. Taking proceedings to the interval is Vaughan Williams's Five Mystical Songs, his celebrated settings of the poems of George Herbert, beginning with the poem Easter, featuring the baritone William Dazeley and the BBC National Chorus of Wales. For the second half of the concert, Jonathan Cohen takes up the baton for Bach's Easter Oratorio. Naturally enough the oratorio presents the Resurrection as it appears in the Gospels, but also interpolates the medieval literary tradition of the Visit to the Grave. Bach portrays the events through dialogue alone, which creates a very different style to his Passions, with a vivid immediacy that is deeply compelling. BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales. Rimsky-Korsakov: Russian Easter Festival Overture, Op 36. Grainger: Blithe Bells - a free ramble on Bach's aria Sheep May Graze. Vaughan Williams: Five Mystical Songs. C 8.15 Interval Music. Bach: Easter Oratorio, BWV 249. William Dazeley (baritone), Anna Dennis (soprano), William Towers (counter tenor), Nick Pritchard (tenor), BBC National Chorus of Wales, Jonathon Heyward (conductor), Jonathan Cohen (conductor).

Cast & Crew

Presenter Nicola Heywood Thomas