Five Folksongs in Counterpoint Florence B. Price
Folk Suite No.1 William Grant Still
Trumpet concerto B flat op.7 No.3 Tomaso Albinoni
Forever? (world premiere) composed by Roderick Williams,
text written by Rommi Smith
Chineke! Chamber Ensemble
Andrea Baker, mezzo soprano
Ronald Samm, tenor
Sweet Sound Choir
Leon Bosch, conductor
2023 marks the 250th anniversary of one of the world’s most beloved hymns, Amazing Grace. Written by the Reverend John Newton to accompany his New Year’s Day service in the Olney Parish Church of St Peter & St Paul on 1 January 1773, the hymn has gone on to inspire countless people around the world and has even become known in America as the nation’s ‘spiritual anthem.’
250 years on, the Cowper & Newton Museum in Olney in partnership with The Stables present the world premiere of Forever?, a new work for voice and chamber ensemble responding to the anniversary and to the different meanings Amazing Grace has for people in the 21st Century.
With text by celebrated poet and writer Rommi Smith and music by renowned baritone and composer Roderick Williams OBE, the premiere will be performed by members of Chineke!, Europe’s first majority Black and ethnically diverse orchestra, whose mission is to champion change and celebrate diversity in classical music. The concert will also feature chamber works by Black and ethnically diverse composers.
Forever? has been commissioned by Cowper & Newton Museum with The Stables for Amazing Grace 250. Supported using public funding by The National Lottery through Arts Council England and Milton Keynes City Council.
The commission forms part of Amazing Grace 250, a year-long programme of activity led by the Museum in partnership with community groups, cultural organisations, local authorities, schools, universities and more to mark the anniversary and to explore what Amazing Grace means to people across the world today. The Amazing Grace 250 programme is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England and Milton Keynes City Council. For further information: cowperandnewtonmuseum.org.uk