Pieta: Bournemouth Symphony Chorus


The Bournemouth Symphony Chorus has been assisted by Chorale Fiscus with its exciting work Pieta, by composer Richard Blackford. At its core is a setting of the Stabat Mater; but it also includes settings of two relevant poems by the celebrated Russian poet Anna Akhmatova from her poem cycle Requiem reflecting family tragedies. The poems echo the words in Stabat Mater reflecting the grief of a mother for her son, in this case her own who, in 1938, at the height of Stalin’s terror, was arrested in his dormitory room and shipped to an Arctic labour camp. For 17 months his mother waited in queues and wrote letters to police officials beseeching them to tell her the fate of her son. Her struggle is immortalised in “Requiem”, her most famous work. Alternating between elegy, lamentation and witness, it culminates in its most famous stanza: “For you my son, my horror. I flung myself at the hangman’s feet, Calling you home. For seventeen months I’ve been crying out,”

Immediately after the première on Saturday 22 June 2019 in Poole, the BSC recorded Pietà for Nimbus. The high-quality recording will help to promote the work to choirs, listeners, performers and audiences world-wide.The work was repeated at the Cadogan Hall in London on Saturday 19th October, again with the BSO and great acclaim. Subsequently Richard Blackford achieved the Ivor Novello award. The latest perfomance is Winchester Cathedral on 29th April 2022.

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