In 1937, Benjamin Britten was commissioned to create an oratorio on the subject of angels for the British Broadcasting System. Obviously the BBC had faith in the young choral composer, who was only 24. They weren't disappointed; on September 29, 1937, The Company of Angels premiered as a special broadcast on Michaelmas, the Feast Day of St. Michael and all the Angels. With the BBC's legendary stock of great musicians on hand—in particular the renowned BBC Singers—radio audiences were treated to a fabulous rendition of a new work of luminous spiritual power and musical multi-dimensionality. Combining narration of scripture, poetry and homilies with inspired choral movements that range from the dark and mysterious "Before the Creation" to the soaring, ethereal "Angels in Common Life" and the mystically reverent "Te Deum," Britten, like his good friend Giancarlo Menotti, became a pioneer in elevating the airwaves to the greatest cultural heights. This weekend, Pasadena Presbyterian Church's talented Kirk Choir and soloists, conducted by Dr. Timothy Howard, perform The Company of Heaven, along with Britten's Simple Symphony; the program also includes a pre-concert lecture by Pasadena Star-News music critic Robert D. Thomas.
Sat., Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m., 2012