Pegasus presented the London premiere of Colin Riley’s Roads Shining Like River Up Hill After Rain, a setting for choir and cello of poetry by Edward Thomas, who died 100 years ago in the trenches of the first world war. The title of this work is taken from one of Thomas’s “ghost shards” – fragments of poetry – found on him after his death:
Where any turn may lead to Heaven/Or any corner may hide Hell/Roads shining like river up hill after rain
The composer worked with writer Robert Macfarlane to fashion the text of the piece from this and other fragments of Thomas’s poetry.
Our concert, directed by Matthew Altham, meditated on these themes of darkness and light, sadness and consolation, through works by John Tavener, Henryk Górecki, Arvo Pärt and others. For the Riley we were joined by cellist Gabriella Swallow, who also accompanied the choir in Serenity by Ola Gjeilo and an excerpt from Verdi’s Requiem. The concert concluded with Lux aeterna, an uplifting vision of eternal light from the requiem mass, set to the famous music of “Nimrod” from Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations.
Our performance took place in the majestic and light-filled setting of St George’s, Hanover Square. St George’s is a historic church containing many artistic treasures and a special musical connection – one of its most famous worshipers was George Frederick Handel.
Song for Athene – John Tavener
Requiem aeternam – Giuseppe Verdi
Wislo moja, Wislo szara – Henryk Górecki
To be Sung on the Water – Samuel Barber
Solfeggio – Arvo Pärt
Roads shining like river up hill after rain – Colin Riley
Northern Lights – Ola Gjeilo
Es ist ein Ros entsprungen – Michael Praetorius, arr. Jan Sandström
Lux aeterna – Edward Elgar
Serenity (O Magnum Mysterium) – Ola Gjeilo