ANTHONY RITCHIE (b.1960): Symphony No. 4 for Soprano and Orchestra “Stations”.
Catalogue Number: 07R066
Reference: ACD 314
Description: This large-scale, single span symphony in fourteen clearly delineated sections is based on sculptures by Llew Summers depicting the Stations of the Cross, commissioned for and installed in Christchurch Cathedral, New Zealand, and a series of poetical commentaries on them by Bernadette Hall. Summers' sculptures are in the sculptor's trademark massive, simplified human forms; the poems are emotive meditations on the events depicted, and the symphony extends the Biblical account of suffering and resilience through its dedication to the people of Christchurch whose sufferings in recent earthquakes included the near-demolition of their historic cathedral. The music is very tonal, and broadly neo-romantic, with a mid-20th century toughness and freedom from excessive sentiment that variously recalls Britten, Shostakovich or Vaughan Williams from time to time. Extended quotations or references to Renaissance and Baroque models - Bach and Palestrina - are an important feature of the work's more meditative central episodes, which develop into a grand peroration in somewhat New Spirituality style before the work's ethereal final moments. Some movements are purely orchestral, some feature wordless vocalises, while others set sections of Hall's texts. Texts included. Jenny Wollerman (soprano), Christchurch Symphony Orchestra; Tom Woods.