About Transformations

Elizabeth Watts soprano
Three Choirs Festival Chorus
Philharmonia Orchestra
Adrian Partington conductor

JS Bach arr. Stravinsky Variations on ‘Vom Himmel hoch’ 11'
Finzi Dies Natalis 24'
Britten The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra 17'
Poulenc Stabat Mater 32'

Following the death of a close friend, Poulenc channelled his emotions into his Stabat Mater, a text depicting Mary’s suffering as Christ’s mother during his crucifixion. The anguish of Mary gave Poulenc an image of human contact with both death and the divine. Finzi’s Dies Natalis (Day of Birth), an exploration of the wonder of a soul coming into being, was written for the 1939 Hereford festival but cancelled because of the outbreak of war, with the first Three Choirs performance in Hereford in 1946. The piece is sung here as it was originally intended for soprano, which is rarely heard. It sits in the first half of the programme with Stravinsky’s reimagining of Bach’s Variations on ‘Vom Himmel hoch’ for chorus and orchestra and Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, a reimagining of a theme by Purcell.

Supported by the Chairman’s Circle

Dies Natalis supported by Mr & Mrs David Ball

Elizabeth Watts supported by Joanna Brickell