Thea Musgrave’s The Voices of Our Ancestors

Thea Musgrave’s The Voices of Our Ancestors
On March 17, Thea Musgrave’s oratorio for chorus, organ and brass quintet, The Voices of Our Ancestors returns to London to commence the John Armitage Memorial 2016/17 season. Performing at St Bride’s Church on Fleet Street will be the Chapel Choir of Selwyn College Cambridge and Onyx Brass, conducted by Michael Bawtree. Soloists Stephanie Corley, Annie Gill, Ashley Catling and Omar Ebrahim will join these forces to present an evening of contemporary music entitled ‘Music of Our Time’.

Voices of Our Ancestors, which sets the creation hymn from the Rigveda, an ancient Sanskrit verse dating in its written form from 1500-1200 BC, and eleven other poems translated from almost as many languages, elevates the writings of thinkers pondering our very existence.

Musgrave wrote: ‘This poem spoke to me so vividly that I knew I had to find a way to set it to music. I then searched for other ancient poems that could accompany it: not only with poems about the eternal existential questions but also with poems expressing intimate human feelings of love, despair, loss, and enjoyment. In the end I found eleven other poems in Vedic, Sanskrit, Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Chinese, Latin, Greek and Egyptian - though all translated into English. All of them date from ancient times. I feel they still speak vividly to us today.’

The Voices of Our Ancestors was commissioned by JAM and the Edinburgh Royal Choral Union (ERCU), with financial support from the Britten-Pears Foundation and the RVW Trust.

Since 2000 the John Armitage Memorial have commissioned, enabled and performed over eighty new pieces of music including Songs of the Garden by John McCabe, Paul Mealor’s The Farthest Shore, Tarik O’Regan’sThe Nights Untruth, and many more.

To book tickets to ‘Music of Our Time’ click here.

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