Beauty & Horror of the Seas: Austrian Premiere of "Sea Symphony”

Mon. 1.5.2023
Beauty & Horror of the Seas: Austrian Premiere of "Sea Symphony”
Mon 1.5.2023

The "sea" in all its facets is the subject of a major project of the Mozarteum University in Salzburg Cathedral. In cooperation with the University of Dresden, works will be performed that are dedicated to both beautiful and terrible aspects of the sea. The epochal "Sea Symphony" by the British composer Ralph Vaughan-Williams (1872-1958) will be performed for the first time in Austria.

As for his colleague Benjamin Britten, the sea also exerted a strong fascination on Vaughan-Williams. His symphonic cantata for soloists, choir and orchestra, composed between 1903 and 1909, places the sea as a force of nature and source of inspiration at the centre of a "cinemascope" portrait. With texts by Walt Whitman, this "Sea Symphony" gets to the - mythical - bottom of the ocean.

In the other works of the programme, the sea appears not as a source of romantic natural bliss, but as a destructive force. When the Estonian ferry Estonia sank on 28 September 1994 for reasons that remain unexplained to this day, Europe's largest shipping disaster after the Second World War became a sad reality. Three years later, the Finnish composer Jaakko Mäntyjärvi (born 1963) wrote a kind of requiem for the almost 900 dead under the title "Canticum calamitatis maritimae". Excerpts from the funeral liturgy, a Latinised newspaper report and Psalm 107 "Qui descendunt mare in navibus" ("Those who sank in the sea with ships") were set to music.


Mozarteum University Choir
Mozarteum vocalEnsemble
Dresdner Unichor (rehearsal: Christiane Büttig)
Mozarteum Academy Orchestra
Conception & direction: Jörn Andresen