London Chamber Orchestra and Contemporary Music

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London Chamber Orchestra is a champion for contemporary music, aiming to combine timeless classics with new music in our concerts. Owner Martin Childs is an amateur horn player and a champion for expanding the repertoire for the instrument. Transcendence, at 7.30pm on 22 February, St John’s Smith Square, London, will feature the world premiere of Nicholas Korth’s Inscapes, commissioned by London Chamber Orchestra and the Guild of Hornplayers. We will be treated to Nicholas Korth performing the solo horn line of the work, an illustrious soloist and co-principal horn of the BBC Symphony Orchestra when he is not spending time composing music.

“During my childhood I often heard my father practising the Prologue to the Britten Serenade for tenor, horn and strings. I was mesmerized by Britten’s use of the natural harmonics of the horn, and have been fascinated by such extraordinary sonorities ever since.

Inscapes makes exclusive use of tunings derived from the natural harmonic series.. Its title is taken from a word coined by the visionary Victorian poet and Jesuit priest, Gerard Manley Hopkins, to encapsulate the unique inner life of each component of the natural world. The piece is both a celebration of, and an elegy to, the current state of our earth, reflected in the poems I have selected.

In the first of these, As Kingfishers Catch Fire, Hopkins captures the energy and vitality of the ‘thisness’ of objects and beings through his wonderfully idiosyncratic language. The second, John Montague’s Springs, is a cry against the exploitation of our planet, symbolised by the defilement of salmon in the river Nore. The next, Tennyson’s The Eagle, is a wild and vigorous description of this magnificent creature in its awesome domain.

There follow two rural scenes: Edward Thomas’s famous Adlestrop, with its lazy summer atmosphere of a deserted birdsong-drenched English railway station, and Wendell Berry’s The Porch over the River, a deep contemplation of the quiet inward beauty of an evening and humanity’s devastating mechanised imprint upon it.

For the final two settings, I have chosen works by poets with connections to the Rudolph Steiner (Waldorf) community. Moon Poem by Paul Georghiades is an exquisite picture of the purity of youth. Inscapes ends in hope with Cathar, Jehanne Mehta’s ecstatic depiction of light and love blossoming forth from darkness and oppression.

Somewhat inevitably the piece contains a few musical ‘nods’ to Britten’s sublime Serenade (some more conscious than others!)…”

— Nicholas Korth