Inspired by the Sea: a view from the choir

Inspired by the Sea: a view from the choir

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If you were brought up in a fishing port, as my mother was in the 20s and 30s, you had a healthy respect for the sea – for its moods which could turn from benign to treacherous in such a short time. Our concert on Saturday 7th November portrayed these moods from the rippling of waves on shingle in the first of Britten’s Sea Interludes to the gathering storm in the fourth which presages such disaster for Peter Grimes, and from the majesty of the sea in the first movement of Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony to its playfulness in the third. And overlaying this seascape of a concert was the relationship between man and the sea, the ever present danger for sailors and the wonder and mysteries of the universe. Cecilia McDowell’s beautiful prayer for peace Ave Maris Stella (Hail Star of the Sea), written for remembrance day and influenced by 9/11, was especially fitting for the day before Remembrance Sunday – and especially poignant for me as my mother’s favourite brother served on an anti-submarine trawler which was torpedoed and sunk in the Atlantic Ocean in 1942 with the loss of all 41 crew.