“The words, with the exception of the Canticle of The Creatures, are settings of almost unknown poems by St Francis of Assisi. They cover a wide expressive and emotional range: from hope to despair, longing to acceptance, love to bitterness, delight in Creation to an impassioned plea for peace amongst mankind. The cantata is no pious word-setting of an ancient saint – rather it is a passionate and vibrant evocation of a man who remains a symbol of hope for millions of all faiths and none. Vison of a Garden - In 2020 I spent nearly five months in hospital with Covid-19, and was in an intensive care unit for more than half that time. In October, when I went back to the hospital for a check-up, I was given two booklets called ‘ICU Diaries’ which contained messages of support written by the nurses who looked after me in intensive care. I find it astonishing that these people whom I never knew could write such warm and personal messages. The text that the choir sings in ‘Vision of a Garden’ is taken from their words. I have plentiful memories from my time in intensive care, but they are almost all false ones: things which my mind invented to keep itself occupied while my body was otherwise engaged in fighting the virus… In the center of the Addenbrooke’s Hospital complex in Cambridge there is a little garden, which is a lovely oasis of peace amid the hospital bustle. As I now know, I was taken to this garden from the ICU a couple of times in May, to get the benefit of the fresh air and sunshine. I wasn’t consciously aware of this, but my subconscious transplanted the garden to Cape Town and incorporated it into my ‘South African dream’…" (Peter Johnstone)
May 06, 2022
Number of Discs:
Period: 21st Century
Composer: Richard Blackford
Conductor: David Hill
Orchestra/Ensemble: Britten Sinfonia
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