Newcastle Bach Choir Tippett: A Child of our Time; Beethoven: Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II

Newcastle Bach Choir Tippett: A Child of our Time; Beethoven: Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II
Ana Fernández Guerra (soprano)

Rebecca Afonwy-Jones (mezzo)

Richard Pinkstone (tenor)

Ross Ramgobin (baritone)

Newcastle Bach Choir

Newcastle University Symphony Orchestra

Eric Cross (conductor)



At a time when across the globe, millions are displaced fleeing war, violence and persecution, Tippett’s true story of a 17-year-old Polish Jew living in occupied Paris has universal significance. The oratorio, begun just two days before the outbreak of the Second World War, dramatises the boy’s frustration when he attempts to gain official papers from the German authorities: angered by the persecution of his mother, he shoots a German diplomat, resulting in his arrest and subsequent disappearance, and a violent pogrom of revenge in Germany.



In the manner of Bach’s Passions, Tippett uses one of the soloists as narrator to tell the story, and he interweaves the dramatic action with reflective solo arias and choruses, here based not on chorales but spirituals – songs of an oppressed race. The radiant final ensemble, however, ends on a note of optimism, explaining that ‘here is no final grieving, but an abiding hope’.



As well as the works of Bach, Beethoven was a huge influence on Tippett, so we open our concert with a rarely performed early work by Beethoven, his Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II. Although it was written when the composer was just 19, it is a work of extraordinary maturity with plaintive choral and woodwind writing, dramatic virtuosity in the monumental bass aria, and graceful melodic lines permeating its two soprano arias.

Event Dates

Date Available Ticket Types Ticket Price Book Tickets
26th November 2022,
7:30pm
  • Standard
  • Concession
  • Students
  • GBP 18 - 25
  • GBP 5 - 12
  • GBP 5 - 12
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