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Relayed from The Park Hall, Cardiff
A Sea Symphony (Vaughan Williams)
May Busby (Soprano), Arthur Fear (Baritone)
Chorus: The Choir of the Cardiff Musical Society
National Orchestra of Wales
(Cerddorfa Genedlaethol Cymru)
Leader, Louis Levitus
Conducted by Warwick Braithwaite
I. 'A Song for all seas, all ships'
II. 'On the Beach at Night Alone'
III. 'The Waves' (Scherzo)
IV. 'The Explorers'

Dr. Vaughan Williams tells us himself of this Symphony that 'the words as well as the music are treated symphonically; the orchestra has an equal share with the chorus and soloists in carrying out the musical ideas.' It is thus unlike other works in which solo voices, chorus, and orchestra join forces; the nearest parallel in classical music is the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven. In this work, however, more than in Beethoven's, the voices are used almost as though they were parts of the orchestra, taking their share in elaborating and developing the themes; in a sense in which it is hardly true even of Beethoven's Ninth, voices and orchestra are combined in one, and given as nearly as may be equal shares. The three movements are all based on passages chosen from Walt Whitman's poems. Listeners will remember that it is a poem of Walt Whitman's which furnishes the text for another work of Vaughan Williams, 'Toward the Unknown Region.'
Here each movement sets forth, in something of a pictorial way, the images which the poet calls up, and the symphony, although what is called 'programme' music, does not set out to tell any coherent story, but rather to present moods. The poems which inspire the three movements are all taken from 'Leaves of Grass'; they are, first, 'Seadrift second', 'Song of Exposition'; and, third, 'Passage to India.' Besides full modern concert orchestra and a big Choir, the work calls on Soprano and Baritone solo singers.


May Busby
Arthur Fear
The Choir of the Cardiff Musical Society
National Orchestra of Wales
Orchestra leader:
Louis Levitus
Warwick Braithwaite

5WA Cardiff

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This data is drawn from the Radio Times magazine between 1923 and 2009. It shows what was scheduled to be broadcast, meaning it was subject to change and may not be accurate. More