Music and dance combine in this unique programme: Gustav Holst’s remarkable opera, Imogen Holst’s entrancing Suite, and Vaughan Williams’ Oboe Concerto.

G. Holst:
Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda, Op.26 (15’)
I. Holst:
Suite (15’)
Vaughan Williams:
Oboe Concerto in A minor (20’)
G. Holst:
Sāvitri, Op.25 (35’)

Kathryn Rudge Sāvitri
Anthony Gregory Satyavān
Ross Ramgobin Death

Britten Sinfonia Voices
Britten Sinfonia
Nicholas Daniel oboe
Olivia Clarke conductor (Sāvitri)
Alexandra Wood leader/director (Choral Hymns, Suite and Oboe Concerto)
Pagrav Dance Company

Credit: Antonio Zazueta Olmos

Main image: Kathryn Rudge, Pagrav Dance Company, Ross Ramgobin © Antonio Zazueta Olmos

The story of Sāvitri, a captivatingly dramatic and evocative work about the triumph of love and devotion over death, is based on a libretto from a Sanskrit story in the Mahabharata. It bears some similarity to the touching narrative of Britten’s Curlew River. Sāvitri is performed by three outstanding soloists, the renowned Pagrav Dance Company, and one of the country’s finest orchestras and its chorus.

It shares the programme with a pair of near-contemporary works from the mid 1940s. Vaughan Williams’ Oboe Concerto is performed by Nicholas Daniel, a regular and much loved presence in the Aldeburgh Festival over four decades. This is the first modern performance of Imogen Holst’s Suite; it was premiered at Wigmore Hall in 1943, the year that she met Benjamin Britten. A musician of impressive depth and versatility, indeed an unsung hero of 20th-century music, she was a key figure in the Aldeburgh Festival. The programme is completed by the third set of Choral Hymns from Holst’s Rig Veda, which draws on the same Sanskrit text as Sāvitri – works of great mystery and depth which, with their combination of upper voices and harp, are a touching precursor of Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols.