Tuesday 12th November

Tom Williams

Music of Remembrance

Music of Remembrance is an apposite title for a talk happening shortly after Remembrance Sunday. Tom Williams will explore and explain various pieces of music which derive inspiration from the act of remembrance or special dedication. This promises to be a reflective and thought-provoking evening.

Appreciation by David Fisher

Tom Williams’ diverting talk was his second for the Society. His pieces were skilfully chosen to highlight the topic of remembrance—suitably chosen for November 12th—much of it written by composers on the death of fellow musicians. As it was, it proved to be a veritable cornucopia of great choral music—most of it English. There were diversions from this, as with the Arvo Pärt’s “Cantus in Memoriam” on the death of Benjamin Britten, which only served to put the other pieces into context. I particularly enjoyed the strong chronological narrative in which each piece flowed beautifully to the next with great fluency, helped by the clarity of the information we were given and Tom’s incisive remarks, which placed each piece in its musical and historical context. His knowledge of the genre allowed him to delve deeply into his subject and choose pieces which were new to many members of the Society. From the conclusion of Tallis’ mighty 40-part “Spem in Alium” to the divine singing of Dame Emma Kirkby in Gibbons’ “The Silver Swan” and the ecstatic extract from “Hymnus Paradisi” by Howells the music could not have been more appropriate.

Please explore the music using Tom's track listing below.


Spem in AliumTallisOxford Camerata, Summerly Naxos 8.557770
Ye Sacred MusesByrdHilliard Ensemble, James EMI Digital CDC 7 47961 2
The Sliver SwanGibbonsKirkby, Consort of MusickeDecca
The Curtain TuneMatthew LockeBrandenburg Consort, Goodman
Funeral Music for Queen MaryPurcellClare College Cambridge, Brown
Ode on the Death of Mr Henry PurcellJohn BlowKing's Consort, Davis / Hall
Hymn Tune St. AnneWilliam Croft, arr. CleoburyCleobury
O Praise the Lord With One ConsentHandel (Chandos Anthem)The Sixteen
Thou Soft Flowing AvonThomas ArneEnglish Serenata Meridian
Herupon We Both AgreedSullivanAcademy of St Martin in the Fields, Terfel, Allen cd. Marriner
The Fourth of AugustElgarBBC Symphony Chorus and Orchestra, tenor Andrew Staples, cond. Davis
Glory to Thee, Father, from Hymn of JesusHolstHallé, Elder
O man greatly beloved, from Dona Nobis PacemVaughan WilliamsKing's Cambridge Choir, soloists Roderick Williams, Ailish Tynan cond. Cleobury
Holy is the true light, from Hymnus ParadisiHowellsAnthony Rolfe-Johnston, Joan Rodgers BBC SO cond. Richard Hickox
Deep River spiritual from A Child of Our TimeMichael TippettLSO, Hickox
Lacrimosa from War RequiemBrittenVishnevskaya, cond. Britten
Cantus in Memoriam BrittenArvo PärtEnglish Chamber Orchestra, dir Nigel Short
Song For AtheneJohn TavenerChoir of Temple Church, dir. Stephen Layton
Sanctus from RequiemJohn RutterChoir of Clar College, dir. Timothy Brown
The Spirit of TruthJudith BinghamChorus of St. Catherine's College Cambridge, dir. Wickham
Remembrance DayMichael FinnissyEXAUDI and London Sinfonietta
SinfoniaLuciano BerioNew York Phil, cond. Bernstein


Rapt concentration from the audience