Skip site navigation and jump to page content

RECENT EVENTS - Prom 20: Walton, Gurney & Sally Beamish

Friday 1 August 2014 - 7:30 PM

James Crabb

Scheduled end time: 9:40pm

War Elegy 11'

Sally Beamish
The Singing 22'
London premiere


Symphony No. 1 in B flat minor 47'

James Crabb accordion
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Martyn Brabbins

Commemorating 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War, the BBC Symphony Orchestra explores responses to conflict across three generations. Gassed while fighting in the trenches in 1917, Gurney never fully recovered. His War Elegy (1920) is a characteristically personal lament – heavy with bittersweet sadness and regret.

Sally Beamish's accordion concerto 'The Singing' will replace the earlier billed Violin Concerto, which has been cancelled due to performer illness. Originally premiered in 2006 by tonight's soloist, James Crabb, the piece commemorates the Highland Clearances. Meditating on the displacement of Scottish Highland communities in the 19th century to far shoreside allotments, and the emigration of yet others to the New World, Beamish use Gaelic psalm and working songs, bagpipe pibrochs and birdsong to give voice to the story.

While not explicitly programmatic, the slow movement of Walton’s First Symphony is among the 20th century’s most poignant orchestral cries of grief – an echo, perhaps, of horrors past, and a foreshadow of horrors yet to come.