The conductor explains why A Sea Symphony launches his soul on a passage to choral heaven.

At the first rehearsal with the chorus for Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony,I said that if by the end of the read they feel they have not died and gone to choir-heaven there is something seriously wrong with them!

I have wanted to conduct this work for many years because it takes the audience on such a large emotional journey. It is the work of a young composer with a huge vision that he would continue to finesse right up to his last symphony in the 1950s. But I am also interested in the enjoyment of the choristers and musicians who play the work. There is so much to explore, ponder and teach in this work that rehearsing it is a pure joy.

Even though A Sea Symphonyis arguably Vaughan Williams’ first large-scale work, and one which took him the better part of six years to complete, the choral writing is so utterly skilful, gracefully melodic and remarkably enjoyable to sing. Added to this is his new approach to orchestration gleaned by his three weeks working with Maurice Ravel who complimented him...