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    Serenades and a Symphony

    Until 22 Apr UTC
    Online events
    Classical music
    Book now
    John Wilson, conductor

    Two home-grown soloists join the Philharmonia Orchestra in a beguiling selection of works by Elgar, Britten and Vaughan Williams.

    'Under John Wilson's impeccable direction ... the sonority was beyond luscious', according to a five-star review in The Times, when he conducted one of the orchestra's first online performances in July 2020.

    He returns with music by Elgar, Britten and Vaughan Williams.

    Vaughan Williams' Fifth Symphony was composed and premiered during the Second World War, but there's not an ounce of violence in it.

    You might hear sadness or nostalgia, especially in the third movement Romanza with its wistful woodwind melodies.

    But the overall mood of the symphony is one of serenity – this is music as refuge and comfort in times of trouble.

    Two serenades, by Elgar and Britten, are the perfect companions to the symphony.

    Elgar's begins with the instruction 'piacevole' – pleasing – and each of its three short movements is a miniature delight.

    Britten's is a haunting, ethereal setting of six poems on nocturnal themes, by poets ranging from an anonymous 15th-century writer to Blake, Keats and Tennyson.

    It was composed for Britten's partner Peter Pears, and Dennis Brain, the Philharmonia's first Principal Horn.

    Like the Vaughan Williams, it was first performed in 1943, but it speaks not of war but of moonlight and shadows, sunset and sleep.

    • Philharmonia Orchestra
    • John Wilson conductor
    • Benjamin Hulett tenor
    • Christopher Parkes horn
    • Elgar: Serenade for strings
    • Britten: Serenade for tenor, horn & strings
    • Vaughan Williams: Symphony No.5 in D

    Where to watch

    Tickets are available via the Philharmonia Orchestra. You will get an email with a unique link to watch the stream. You can watch as many times as you want after that for 30 days.

    Please ensure that you have access to a stable WiFi network in order to watch the event.

    For full details on how to book and watch, see frequently asked questions

    Dates & times

    First broadcast: available from 7.30pm on Thu 15 Apr and available to buy until Thu 15 Jul.

    Approximate run time: 90 mins.
    Run times may vary by up to 20 minutes as they can be affected by last-minute programme changes, intervals and encores.


    Standard £12


    Online events

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    Check the Where to watch section above to find out which platform you can use to view this specific event.