26 July - 3 August 2019
Welcome from the Artistic Director
Themes and anniversaries aren't necessarily the best influences on successful programmes, but I couldn't ignore the 150th anniversary of the death of Hector Berlioz, the most strikingly original musical figure of the first half of the 19th century. We honour his memory on the opening night with La damnation de Faust: an overwhelming work which is part cantata, part opera, and part orchestral fantasy, featuring a stellar cast of soloists. We also feature Berlioz's dynamic overture Le Carnival Romain, and his orchestral song cycle Les Nuits d'été.
We're offering a cornucopia of wonderful choral-orchestral classics: Vaughan Williams' A Sea Symphony, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Rachmaninov's All-Night Vigil (from Ex Cathedra), Karl Jenkins' The Armed Man (Festival Youth Choir) and the UK concert premiere of Mendelssohn's arrangement of Handel's Israel in Egypt. Where else could you find all these works in a single festival, except at Three Choirs? We're thrilled to have the Philharmonia Orchestra as our resident orchestra again; but also to have a visit from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, who give a centenary performance of Elgar's Cello Concerto, and a revival of John Joubert's 2010 Festival commission An English Requiem.
2019 sees the 60th birthday of another of our greatest living composers, Sir James Macmillan, whose music is at the forefront of modern trends, yet still accessible to all listeners. The Three Cathedral Choirs will be broadcasting an Evensong of his music, and John Scott Whiteley will premiere Macmillan's latest organ work. Another noteworthy commission is Bob Chilcott's Christmas Oratorio, which will be performed by the Three Cathedral Choirs, paired in the concert with Britten's matchlessly beautiful Ceremony of Carols.
With chamber music, song recitals, community music events, late night entertainment of many kinds, and good weather, we can guarantee that the Gloucester festival of 2019 will be an exciting week, with something for everybody!