Tuesday, 29 July 2014

100 year ago WW1 started.: John Bright's words set to Music by Vaughan Williams

Donna nobis pacem Vaughan  Williams's great cantata and plea for peace uses the words of John Bright the Liberal MP as the text for section five:

The fifth section, which bears no title, starts with the baritone soloist and a quote from the John Bright speech with which he tried to prevent the Crimean War ("The Angel of Death has been abroad throughout the land . . ."). The movement continues with somber quotes from the Book of Jeremiah, with the soprano and choir intervening with the Dona nobis pacem plea.

The Angel of Death has been abroad throughout the land; you may almost hear the beating of his wings. There is no one as of old … to sprinkle with blood the lintel and the two side-posts of our doors, that he may spare and pass on



The speech was given in Parliament by John Bright in 1855 at the time of the Crimean War. (‘The Angel of Death has been abroad throughout the land; you may almost hear the beating of his wings …’. Vaughan Williams claimed to be the only composer ever to have set a passage from the proceedings of the House of Commons!) - See more at: http://blog.oup.com/2014/02/dona-nobis-pacem-by-ralph-vaughan-williams/#sthash.Gzx3iaOv.dpuf

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