Bearsden Choir’s concert at Glasgow City Halls next month will include the world premiere of a deeply personal work by University of Glasgow graduate and choir member, George Swann

For Andrew Nunn, Musical Director of Bearsden Choir, bringing together the programme for next month’s concert at Glasgow City Halls has been particularly inspiring.
With the second part of the evening devoted to the glorious Mozart Requiem, the first has a more contemporary, but no-less-melodic presence, with a selection from Sir Michael Tippett’s A Child Of Our Time and a world premiere of a work written specifically for Bearsden Choir by one of its members.

Love Lives Beyond The Tomb has been composed by George Swann, just a year after his graduation from the University of Glasgow where he studied music, and composition in particular.  George’s dissertation looked at the future of choral singing, his interest deepened by singing with Bearsden Choir for four years.

“I have performed at so many wonderful concerts with the choir and during that time I have also seen the choir improve. I know the choir and its members well now, so I felt I could write something that my fellow members would enjoy singing, but also something that could bring the best out of this talented group of people,” explains George.

The Herald:

Love Lies Beyond The Tomb is not only a mature musical work for a man in his early 20s but the subject matter exhibits a deeper understanding of the nature of love.
Set to the poem by Romantic poet John Clare, the idea that the love that exists in life cannot be dimmed by death was particularly poignant for George when his Aunt Julie passed during its composition.

“Of course it is deeply personal to me now, but it will mean something for every member of the choir – and the audience. We have all lost someone close. Everyone will bring their own experiences to it and I’m sure that for the choir, those personal experiences will come across in the performances,” he says.

George will be part of those, joining his fellow choir members to perform the work. He has also had the trust of Andrew Nunn to conduct during the rehearsal period.
“Supporting new composers is something that I believe the choir should always do,” says Andrew Nunn. “The fact that one of our own members has composed specifically for the choir has sparked something for us.

“Bringing together the evening’s programme has been a joy. The Mozart Requiem is a great favourite with audiences and also with the choir to sing.
The first part of the evening is twentieth and twenty-first century, more contemporary in style but no less melodic. George’s piece will take us to the interval following the choral extracts from Sir Michael Tippett’s A Child Of Our Time. Earlier this year, the choir was asked to perform these with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra at the Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow for a documentary about his life and work. Michael Tippett, The Shadow and The Light is expected to be broadcast in the next few weeks on BBC Two.”

A Child Of Our Time was first performed in 1944. Tippett was inspired by the events of Kristallnacht in 1938, a co-ordinated violent assault on the Jewish population. A Child Of Our Time expresses what he saw in the increasingly dark political landscape developing at that time.
The careful programming of next month’s concert means that the subject matter belies the hope and celebratory nature of the music, which celebrates the strength of the human condition.

For George Swann, to have his first major choral piece performed between Tippett and Mozart appears to be more energising than daunting. 
“I have been so well supported by everyone in the choir,” he says. “It has been an honour to compose for them.”

The Mozart Requiem and Love Lives Beyond The Tomb will be performed at Glasgow City Halls on Saturday, May 13 at 4pm. 

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