The Wonder of Nature in Words and Music
In August 2014, we put on our second event at at Leith Hill Place, Surrey – a summer concert and ‘come and sing’ celebrating the love of nature as an inspiration to some of England’s finest composers, in collaboration with the National Trust. The day’s programme was inspired by the unique history and atmosphere of the house itself, as well as by the music of Vaughan Williams. The idea behind the theme came from Ursula Vaughan Williams’ poem The Naturalist, which describes a scientist’s humble fascination with the natural world. We thought the poem beautifully encompassed the connection between the house and its regular visitor Charles Darwin, as well as the awe-inspiring beauty of its surroundings.
Music by John Ireland formed the centrepiece of the event, which began with an ensemble singing workshop, focusing on Ireland’s beautiful, nature-inspired choral piece ‘The Hills’, as well as some shorter, two-part folksongs. Ireland’s solo songs also featured in the concert, alongside music by Edward Elgar, Benjamin Britten, Herbert Howells and (of course) Vaughan Williams, sung by Lisa J Coates, in her second Leith Hill Place recital.
Gabrielle Gale (Leith Hill Place Visitor Operations Manager): “It’s wonderful to hear the house coming alive again with the sound of music. We are delighted that Stef and Lisa are hosting this event which gives a sense of community and a shared experience. I am sure that this is what Vaughan Williams would have wanted – not a shrine to his art but a living , breathing centre where people can come together and enjoy music”.