On the Green
two-part choir & piano accompaniment
Instrumentation two-part choir, piano
First Performance 9 June 2013, Aldeburgh Festival, Orford Church, Suffolk, UK; New London Children’s Choir, Ronald Corp (conductor)
Co-commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Society and the Britten-Pears Foundation
27.3.14 St James’ Piccadilly, London; The New London Children’s Choir, Ronald Corp conductor
23.11.18 St Katherine Cree Church, London; The Libra chamber choir, Evan Smith conductor
Charlotte is thrilled to be part of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s commission for the New London Children’s Choir. The pieces, co-commissioned with the Britten-Pears Foundation will jointly mark the RPS’s Bicentenary and the Centenary of Benjamin Britten’s birth. The song book will consist eight songs by four composers’: Thea Musgrave, Sally Beamish, Anna Meredith, and Charlotte Bray, and will be premiered in Aldeburgh Festival.
On the Green sets Blake’s companion poems The Echoing Green and The Garden of Love. The playful merry sounds and images of youthfulness and innocence are heard in The Echoing Green, where Blake captures the pure joy and beauty of the natural world.
The innocence and freedom in The Echoing Green contrast markedly with life’s experiences in The Garden of Love. Flowers become a metaphor for love- love that withers as the garden of love becomes a graveyard- in turn a metaphor for death and decay. The joys and desire of youth are shattered, driven out- Blake’s statement about freedom blocked by the Church, and the repression of natural pleasures and desires, a brave statement from Blake in his time.