Brussels Choral Society - Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra - David Navarro Turres conductor - Laeticia Cellura violin - Iris Hendrickx soprano - Matthew Zadow bass

Ralph Vaughan Williams – Dona Nobis Pacem
Max Bruch – Violin Concerto No 1  
Arnold Schönberg – Friede auf Erden
Guillaume Lekeu – Adagio pour quatuor d’orchestre

This concert for peace is another collaboration between the Brussels Choral Society and the Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra under their conductor, David Navarro Turres.

The best-known work in the concert is Max Bruch’s first violin concerto. Dating from 1868 this romantic work is popular with both audiences and performers alike. Bruch achieves an ideal balance between lyricism and drama, combining soaring melodies with solo virtuosity. The soloist is Belgian violinist Laeticia Cellura, the leader of the Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra.

Guillaume Lekeu was the up-coming genius among Belgian composers before his untimely death in 1894 at the age of 24. His Adagio pour quatuor d’orchestre is an intense, solemn and elegiac work for string orchestra. This astonishingly mature work reveals Lekeu’s unfulfilled promise.

Arnold Schoenberg’s early choral work Friede auf Erden was composed in 1907 before he abandoned the tonal musical language inherited from the great German romantic masters. The text describes how the message of ‘peace on earth and goodwill to men’ is unheeded as the world continues on a path towards violence, war and hate. Written before the First World War, Schoenberg’s music is both powerful and prophetic. Originally conceived as an a capella chorus, Schoenberg later added an orchestral accompaniment.

Vaughan Williams’ cantata Dona Nobis Pacem is a powerful plea for peace written in 1936 just as the inevitability of a second World War became apparent. It is one of the composer’s most ambitious and personal works, employing a huge orchestra, soprano and baritone soloists, and a large choir. Biblical texts and poems by Walt Whitman describe the horror and pity of earlier wars against the background of the final words of the Roman Catholic mass. The work contrasts the beating drums of war, with a muffled funeral dirge, a final message of optimism and an unanswered prayer for peace. Our soloists are Iris Hendrickx, soprano and Matthew Zadow, bass.