About The Holy City

A photo of Roderick Williams
Credit: Theo Williams

Roderick Williams baritone
Ruairi Bowen tenor
Zsolt-Tihamér Visontay violin
Three Choirs Festival Chorus
Gloucester Cathedral Choristers
Gloucester Cathedral Youth Choir
Philharmonia Orchestra
Adrian Partington conductor

Eleanor Alberga Rise up, O Sun! 7'premiere
Vaughan Williams
Sancta Civitas 30'
Violin Concerto 55'

Vaughan Williams’ Sancta Civitas (The Holy City) was strongly influenced by the horrors of the First World War. The music portrays the dreadful annihilation of Babylon’s armies and mourns the destruction of the city, before the beautiful violin solo introduces the holy city and unites all in peace and love for ever. The piece ends in quiet longing for an end to earthly wars and conflict. Continuing the yearning tones of the violin, Elgar’s Violin Concerto is a sweeping romance loved by audiences since it was first heard at a private party before the Three Choirs Festival in 1910. Thrilling and emotional, the piece will be brought to life by superb violinist and Philharmonia co-leader, Zsolt-Tihamér Visontay. The concert opens with a setting by Eleanor Alberga of words from William Blake’s Vala, or The Four Zoas, depicting a pastoral paradise with glorious imagery.

Sancta Civitas supported by The American Friends of the Three Choirs Festival

Zsolt-Tihamér Visontay supported by The Richard Hall Charitable Trust

Eleanor Alberga commission supported by the Three Choirs Commissioning Circle