• Robert Saxton
  • Music to Celebrate the Resurrection of Christ (1988)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the BBC

  • 2(2pic)2(ca)2(bcl)2/1110/timp.2perc/str(
  • 10 min

Programme Note

Music to Celebrate the Resurrection of Christ was commissioned in 1988 by the BBC for a television programme which was shown on BBC2 on Easter Sunday. The television producer, Jonathan Fulford, created a video film in conjunction with the music and this was centred on Coventry Cathedral, a powerful symbol of resurrection rising out of destruction. The music begins with echoes of the crucifixion before reaching a state of peace and was inspired by my memories of the beauty and calm experienced in Jerusalem in the early evening, especially on the Mount of Olives. Eventually a point of illumination is reached, representing the first moment of light on emerging from a sepulchre. The music quickly increases in speed and becomes a wild dance of joy which quotes from various other works of mine. This explodes onto octave E’s (for the whole orchestra) which illustrate intense blinding light, before building to a radiant conclusion in E major - a moment of affirmation and hope: the television image at this point was of Graham Sutherland’s tapestry of the Risen Christ in Majesty with resurrected men standing between stigmatised feet. The work is scored for an orchestra of thirty players and lasts for ten minutes. The television recording was made by the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Lionel Friend. Its first performance as a concert piece was given at the 1989 Aldeburgh Festival by the English Chamber Orchestra and Steuart Bedford, who have since recorded it for Collins Classics.

Robert Saxton


Music to Celebrate the Resurrection of Christ


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