Peterloo (choral version)


by Malcolm Arnold

SATB chorus and orchestra
Chorus with Orchestra/Large Ensemble, Chorus with Orchestra/Large Ensemble
Sir Tim Rice
2.picc.2.2.2 - 4331 - timp - perc(4): tam-t/BD/2 SD/cyms/TD/t.bells/glsp - harp - strings

This choral version was arranged by Ben Parry, and uses the original Arnold orchestration

First Performance
13.9.2014, Last Night of the Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London, UK: BBC Symphony Orchestra & Chorus/Sakari Oramo

Full score, chorus score and parts for hire

Programme Notes

When honoured with an invitation to write some words to Sir Malcolm Arnold’s beautiful and moving Peterloo, I turned to Shelley’s 'The Masque of Anarchy' as an inspiration. The poet wrote his passionate verses in response to the Massacre of 16 August 1819 in St.Peter’s Fields, when the Manchester Yeomanry broke up a crowd of more than 50,000 demanding parliamentary reform. The cavalry, sabres drawn, killed 15 and hundreds were injured. Shelley was in Italy at the time of the massacre and wrote his vicious polemic a month after the event. His anger provoked 91 stanzas of outrage against the rulers of Regency Britain, political individuals portrayed as monstrous beasts in thrall to the figure of Anarchy, delighting in crushing the multitudes. Not surprisingly, the poem was supressed and was not published in Britain until 1832, ten years after Shelley’s death. On 16 March 1190, at Clifford’s Tower in York, the entire Jewish community of that city, around 150 people, were massacred in anti-Semitic riots. The World War I Battle of Paschendale took place from July to November 1917. Casualties on both sides totalled more than half a million men. Sir Malcolm’s wonderful music superbly portrays the conflict between patriotism and liberty and the hope and failure of ideals, so often destroyed by wilful incomprehension of the unfamiliar. (c) Sir Tim Rice

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