MUSIC LOVERS in Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow and Aberdeen will have a rare
opportunity to hear the world-renowned London Symphony Orchestra under its Principal Conductor, Sir • Colin Davis, between 2-5 December when the 1996 Shell LSO National tour takes to the road in its 21st Anniversary year, its only appearances outside London.
Culminating at the Barbican, the London home of the LSO, on 10 December, all performances will open with The World's Ransoming by Catholic composer James MacMillan, which received its world premiere at the Barbican in July. This acclaimed work for cor anglais and orchestra is the first of a triptych commissioned by the LSO depicting the Easter story and this year alone will have been performed nine times around the country. The . Orchestra will also premiere a symphony by James MacMillan in 1998. Steven Isserlis joins LSO for the Cello Concerto at all venues and Beethoven's Symphony No.5 completes the programme.
Pending finding new premises, the awardwinning Greenwich Studio Theatre Company (not to be confused with the Greenwich Theatre), which began life above the Prince of Orange pub next to Greenwich BR, is camping out at the Battersea Arts Centre, Lavender Hill, a stone's throw from Clapham Junction station, and taking advantage of BAC's hospitality to revive some of its more successful productions.
Currently on-stage until 8 December is an adoption by Julian Forsyth of French man of letters, Denos Diderot's (1713-1784) 18th century novel The Nun directed by his wife Margaret Forsyth. Trained by the Jesuits, one of the 18th century's most remarkable literary works, lay hidden in a drawer for years after his death and could only be published after the French Revolution. Prolific and versatile, he was a novelist, dramatist, critic, philosopher and a brilliant letter writer, the supreme French genius of the Enlightenment. As a satirist he was the scourge of debased religious institutions. The Nun began life as a practical joke but soon got out of hand and spawned a novel consisting largely of dialogue, with more exciting dramatic events than any of his plays. His subject was a young woman's attempts to escape convent life and contains a startling sympathetic portrayal of a lesbian Mother Superior. Time Out Critic's Choice in 1994 when The Nun was first produced at Greenwich; What's On recommended "a pilgrimage, it restores the faith": Watch this space for its effect on me! BAC Box Office 0171 223 2223 Tickets £9 and £6 concessions.
AMAJOR DIARY date for 4 December (at 8pm) at Westminster Cathedral is the Royal College of Music's production of Benjamin Britten's War Requiem on the 20th anniversary of the composer's death. Britten was a student at the College and this performance involves over 300 students together with 36 musicians from 16 conservatories in 12 countries, including Israel and Russia, plus the Cathedral Choristers. This
concert is the focal point of special events, classes and rehearsals for the overseas students.
The War Requiem is set to the Latin text of the Mass for the Dead and poems by Wilfred Owen, the supreme poet of the Great War who was tragically killed aged 25 on 4 November 1918 a few days before the Armistice, after earlier winning the Military Cross. Owen wrote: "My subject is war and the pity of war. The poetry is in the pity". Britten's masterpiece emphasises the futility of war. (Britten himself dedicated the work as "an act of reparation" to the memory of four school friends who died in the Second World War).
I would hear the War Requiem any day just for the ending. In the final pages all the forces are united for the first time. The two soldiers sing, repeatedly, "Let us sleep now" and merge into the boys "In Paradisum" with the main chorus and soprano. In conclusion, the church bells sound for the last time, and the unaccompanied chorus sing the final cadence "requlescant in pace. Amen". Mirroring the original intentions for the premiere at Coventry Cathedral on 30 May 1962 (although in the event Heather Harper took over from Galina Vishnevskaya), the three soloists at the Cathedral are from Russia, Germany and Great Britain.
Tickets from Ticketmaster 0171-344 444.