Uplifting songs at choir’s June concert

Enfield Choral Society director Ian Mackenzie on what you can expect at their summer concert

Enfield Choral Society performing at St Paul's Church
Enfield Choral Society performing at St Paul’s Church

For our June concert Enfield Choral Society will be performing From the Bavarian Highlands by Edward Elgar and Everyday Wonders: The Girl from Aleppo by Cecilia McDowall.

Musical director Mark Sproson and pianist Bohdana Ravliuk will be joined by violinist Sarah Colley and by Enfield County School for Girls Chamber Choir.

Edward and Alice Elgar spent many holidays around Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria. After days spent hiking and touring, they enjoyed their evenings in taverns and hotels where they listened to local folk songs. In 1894, the Elgars spent several weeks on Bavarian walking tours and, when they returned home, Alice wrote six poems based on Bavarian folk verse. Edward set these poems to music, completing them in April 1895 with their premiere at Worcester Festival on 21st April 1896.

Each of the poems and songs were inspired by different events or places in Bavaria – a harvest folk dance; the meadows around the village of Wamberg; a gentle lullaby; a prayer heard in a chapel at the top of the Tyrolean Alps. The fifth song is set in a high-altitude Alpine meadow and the final song is based on the town of Murnau, noted for its annual hunting festival.

Germany is also important for Nujeen Mustafa, a Kurdish girl with cerebral palsy who was forced to flee from her home in Aleppo and undertake an immense but successful journey, being pushed in her wheelchair by her elder sister, Nasrine, all the way from Syria to Germany. She co-authored her biography with Christina Lamb under the title Everyday Wonders: The Girl from Aleppo.

Throughout this ordeal she remained strong, brave and upbeat, taking every opportunity to use her new-found English, which she had learned from watching US soap operas, quizzes and cookery programmes on television in her fourth-floor Aleppo flat.

In 2014 a new cantata was commissioned, based on this biography; the libretto was written by Kevin Crossley-Holland and the score composed by Cecilia McDowall. It was first performed in Birmingham Town Hall in 2018. The composer employs many musical effects to enhance the story, including chorales, spoken sections, body percussion and an intense solo violin that contributes to a Middle Eastern ambience. Both the story and the music are strong, captivating and uplifting – fully capturing the trials, but also the ultimate success against the odds.

We do hope that you will be able to join us for this fascinating concert.

Enfield Choral Society is performing at St Paul’s Church, Church Hill, Winchmore Hill N21 1JA at 7.30pm on Saturday, 17th June. Tickets are £15 (£14 in advance), with under-25s in full-time education able to enter for £7:
Call 07864 061 755
Email [email protected]

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