Audiences at our Messiah performance on Wednesday 20 Decemberat the Barbican will be treated to an extra work in the programme – and a world premiere, no less. Composer Hannah Conway worked with 60 secondary school pupls from across London, exploring the themes and music of Handel’s best-known oratorio. As Hannah explains:
“Together we tore apart the libretto and reordered the most engaging lyrical ideas. We debated gender inequality, gender discrimination, racial discrimination, social exclusion and communities rejected by society. We reflected upon the idea of hope, exploring why and how generations have used various metaphors, images and stories to galvanise ‘coming together’ with strength and direction.
“We attempted to untangle why ‘nations rage furiously together’. We discussed examples of people who had turned about their lives as a result of negative or traumatic personal experiences. We wrestled with the vanity of current international leadership, the shotgun digital news media and asked why so little trust seems to be placed in the instinctive, younger generation?
“When you have had the courage to speak out and why is there such pressure and expectations placed on each of us? What are the fears of our society?
“Rich material, engaging and articulate discussions. This was a group that was determined to relate to Handel’s Messiah!”
The ten-minute piece, performed by players and singers of AAM alongside the 60 young participants is entitled A Known Young Voice, and will be followed immediately by AAM’s performance of Handel’s Messiah.
La Retraite RC School (Clapham Park) in Lambeth; St Paul’s Way Trust School in Tower Hamlets; Tri-borough Music Hub Chamber Choir drawn from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and City of Westminster; and Westminster City School.