‘Belshazzar’s Feast’ – William Walton

A Saturday evening concert in Sunderland Minster.

Conducted by David Murray.

Soloist – Matthew Brook (Bass-Baritone)

The concert will feature Belshazzar’s Feast by William Walton, and Blest Pair of Sirens & I was glad by Sir Hubert Parry.

Tickets are £12.00 (£6 concession for full time students and those on income related benefits) and accompanied children under 16 admitted free. Tickets obtainable via this website or info@bishopwearmouth.co.uk of from on-line ticketing at http://wegottickets.com/BCS

Belshazzar’s Feast is a cantata by the English composer William Walton, first performed in 1931, and remains one of Walton’s most celebrated compositions. Osbert Sitwell selected the text from the Bible, primarily from the Book of Daniel and Psalm 137 (By the waters of Babylon). In the story, the Jews are in exile in Babylon. After a feast at which Belshazzar, the Babylonian king, commits sacrilege by using the Jews’ sacred vessels to praise the heathen gods, he is miraculously killed, the kingdom falls, and the Jews regain their freedom.

The pieces by Parry will be well known. Blest Pair of Sirens, first performed in 1887, was based on Milton’s ‘Ode at a Solemn Music’ and was recently performed at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. I was glad, based on text from Psalm 122, was written for the coronation of King Edward VII and revised in 1911 for the coronation of King George V, when the familar introduction was added. It was also performed during the wedding of William and Catherine, and previously at the wedding of his parents.

Matthew Brook has appeared as a soloist throughout Europe, Australia, South Africa and the Far East, and has sung extensively as a recitalist and concert artist. He has developed a world-wide reputation for his interpretation of the music of Bach and Handel, but his musical tastes stretch way beyond that period of music, often performing new compositions at major festivals and concert halls, and has performed on the opera stages of Europe. He has performed at many of Europe’s top festivals, including the Edinburgh Festival and BBC Proms.