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News > ODs Around the World > Jozie ODs in a Sea Symphony

Jozie ODs in a Sea Symphony

Six ODs in a Ralph Vaughan Williams performance that delights the audience.

We are extremely proud of our six ODs who were in a performance of  A Sea Symphony by Ralph Vaughan Williams on Sunday 15 October 2023 in Johannesburg. 

It was a joint presentation by the Philharmonia Choir of Cape Town and the Johannesburg Symphony Choir. 

Left to Right in the photograph above:

Mark Marais (1978G), Richard Haigh (1996B), Andrew Marais (1978G), Richard Cock (1967O), Andrew Gie (1976G) and Henry Stubbings (1972S)

Richard Cock was the Conductor and there were several ODs in the audience.

More about the work itself:

A Sea Symphony started out in 1903 as a song-cycle, The Ocean, but evolved into a large-scale symphonic work which was published in 1909 as A Sea Symphony. The composer himself conducted its first performance at the Leeds Festival in 1910. During the long gestation period of the work, Vaughan Williams spent time in the British Museum studying the scores of Elgar’s Enigma Variations and The Dream of Gerontius. In retrospect he freely admitted the influence of Gerontius on his Sea Symphony, especially in the last movement. Vaughan Williams’ period of studying with Maurice Ravel in Paris, was intense and he returned inspired and with renewed creative energies. Ravel’s influence may have helped to bring out Vaughan Williams’s ability to paint with music, a defining feature of his first symphony with its vivid depiction of the sea.

For A Sea Symphony Vaughan Williams used lines from five poems by Walt Whitman: four from Whitman’s collection Leaves of Grass and one from his Passage to India. He took great liberties in choosing which lines of verse to use and which ones to leave out; he changed the order of verses and even altered words, guided mainly by his own compositional intentions and personal vision.

“The nature of Whitman’s texts is cosmic, dealing with the mysterious uncertainties of life and Vaughan Williams provides music with an appropriate mystical feel. This symphony gazes at the sea but realises it is a symbol for the infinite”.

The journey of the human soul depicted in A Sea Symphony ends with the ship of life slowly and calmly disappearing over the horizon into the unknown.

[Taken from:

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