Flos campi is enigmatic, elegiac and redemptive.
Communicating across the centuries, composers sometimes pay homage to each other by borrowing music from one era and repurposing it in another. The “St Anthony Chorale”, a melody attributed to Haydn, forms the basis of Brahms’s Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn, while “Down Ampney” (also known as “Come down, O Love divine”), a hymn tune by Ralph Vaughan Williams, underpins the ingenious Fantasia on a Theme of Vaughan Williams by Australian composer Paul Stanhope.
Music by the composers so honoured makes up the first half of this concert. Haydn’s Symphony No 102, one of his hugely successful “London Symphonies”, was written at the peak of Haydn’s career, while Flos campi (Flower of the Fields) by Vaughan Williams is a one-of-a-kind work: part viola concerto, part oratorio but strictly speaking neither. Composed in 1925 and inspired by the biblical “Song of Songs”, Flos campi is enigmatic, elegiac and redemptive.