Belfast Philharmonic Choir presents the world première of The Seven Heavens - CS Lewis in the Medieval Planets by Grammy nominated James Whitbourn, at The Ulster Hall on Saturday 30 May.
Commissioned to celebrate the Belfast Philharmonic’s 140th Anniversary, this Gala Concert features a wide range of compelling music, yet with a common theme of celestial spheres.
For the first time, the Phil Youth Choir join the adults’ choir in this work written especially to include both children`s voices and The Ulster Hall`s iconic Mulholland Grand Organ.
The first part of the concert includes mainstays of the choral repertoire: Handel’s glorious Zadok the Priest, Serenade to Music (Vaughan Williams) with soloists from Northern Ireland Opera’ Young Artists Programme, and Blest Pair of Sirens, Parry’s setting of Milton’s hymn of praise to the “Sphere-born harmonious sisters, Voice and Verse.”
The second part opens with Jonathan Dove’s popular Seek him the Seven Stars, before launching into the concert highlight: the World Premiere The Seven Heavens - a brand new work specially commissioned by Belfast Philharmonic Choir from Grammy-nominated composer James Whitbourn.
This new work comprises seven movements (The Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn and the Sun), each of which corresponds to a different phase in Lewis’ life. Ward has explained these different phases and linked them to seven Orphic Hymns (The Mystical Hymns of Orpheus first translated in 1792) which, punctuated by other short phrases from Scripture and elsewhere, form the basis of the libretto.
James Whitbourn has applied his genius and brilliance to crafting seven movements of choral music for adult voices (The Phil), children’s voices (Phil Kids Youth Choir) and the Ulster Orchestra with the Mulholland Organ.
There will be a free pre-concert talk by James Whitbourn starting at 7pm.
Tickets for The Seven Heavens are available online, by calling 028 9033 4455 and from the box office at The Ulster Hall.