Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms” has been performed several times by the London Symphony Chorus, including with the composer himself in 1986, subsequently recorded under Richard Hickox later that year. It appears in this concert of all-American connections and more than a touch of jazz, at the Barbican with the LSO under the baton of James Gaffigan, one of the most exciting young American conductors working today.
The programme begins with Bernstein’s “Prelude, Fugue and Riffs”, followed by the first performance of a new violin concerto by Wynton Marsalis with Nicola Benedetti as the soloist. Also included is Stravinsky’s first major work after emigrating to the USA in 1939, his “Symphony in Three Movements”. The evening ends as it began, with Bernstein in the Hebrew setting of his affirmative and serene “Chichester Psalms”, which was originally commissioned for the 1965 Southern Cathedrals Festival at Chichester Cathedral.