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Music inspired by the Passion.

Byline: By Karen Price

Music inspired by the story of the Passion will be performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in Swansea next month.

Brahms' dark and majestic Tragic Overture opens the programme and is followed by Gethsemani Fragment by Michael Berkeley, composer- in-association with BBC Now and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

Gethsemani Fragment is scored for the string section only, and takes as its theme the events of Maundy Thursday.

Writing at the time of the work's composition, Berkeley said, 'I chose this passage because it seemed to me that at Gethsemani we see Christ at his most human, revealing a frailty that is all the more moving for its being a flash of weakness with which we can all identify.

'But combined with the human foreboding is the additional and awful visionary knowledge of what is in store.

'My piece, while abstract rather than programmatic, simply attempts to capture a brief glimpse of the gnawing and nagging doubts racing through the mind of Christ.'

James MacMillan's searingly intense The World's Ransoming will also be performed. This piece is also based on the events leading up to the crucifixion of Christ and is a passionate outpouring for cor anglais and orchestra.

Also in the programme is Shostakovich's popular Piano Concerto No 1, which features both piano and trumpet solos.

Completing the programme is Haydn's terse and urgent Symphony No 95, written in London when the composer visited in 1791.

The concert takes place at the Brangwyn Hall in Swansea on March 5 at 7.30pm.

Meanwhile, the orchestra is also preparing for a St David's Day concert, which will take place at St David's Hall in Cardiff on March 1 at 7.30pm.

The concert, under the baton of Welsh conductor Owain Arwel Hughes, will feature a mixed programme of traditional works by Welsh composers, hymns and popular classics.

Opening the concert will be the premiere of Badger in a Bag. This short, new piece written especially for this concert by Alun Hoddinott, is based on a tale from the Mabinogion.

Tickets for both events are available from the BBC Call Now Line on 0800 052 1812.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Feb 23, 2004
Words:364
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