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Video streamed event and on demand: Serenades and a Symphony

Watch online on philharmonia.co.ukPhilharmonia OrchestraRecorded at Southbank Centre: Royal Festival Hall, London, United Kingdom
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Dates/times in your browser's time zone
Thursday 15 April 202119:30
On demand until Thursday 15 July 2021 23:59

‘Under John Wilson’s impeccable direction… the sonority was beyond luscious’, according to a five-star review in The Times, when he conducted one of our first online performances in July 2020. He’s back, with two home-grown soloists, in a beguiling all-British programme.

Vaughan Williams’s Fifth Symphony was composed and premiered during the Second World War, but there’s not an ounce of violence in it. You might hear sadness or nostalgia, especially in the third movement Romanza with its wistful woodwind melodies. But the overall mood of the symphony is one of serenity – this is music as refuge and comfort in times of trouble.

Two serenades, by Elgar and Britten, are the perfect companions to the symphony. Elgar’s begins with the instruction ‘piacevole’ – pleasing – and each of its three short movements is a miniature delight. Britten’s is a haunting, ethereal setting of six poems on nocturnal themes, by poets ranging from an anonymous 15th-century writer to Blake, Keats and Tennyson. It was composed for Britten’s partner Peter Pears, and Dennis Brain, the Philharmonia’s first Principal Horn. Like the Vaughan Williams, it was first performed in 1943, but it speaks not of war but of moonlight and shadows, sunset and sleep.

Available to buy until: Thursday 15 July, 23:59

Buying a ticket allows you to watch as many times as you like for 30 days from either the premiere date (if you buy in advance) or purchase date (if you buy after the premiere).

Price: Standard ticket: £12; Standard+ ticket: £20

Recording date: Tuesday 30 March

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