John Lewis to mark 150 years with musical feast
The special composition will be performed this Christmas at the Royal Albert Hall by the Partnership's orchestra, the Cavendish Ensemble. Singers will come from Waitrose and John Lewis branches up and down the country.
John Lewis managing director Andy Street said: "In a business that has music in its DNA, this is a unique, special way to close a year of celebration. Now members of the public, as well as Partners from Waitrose and John Lewis, will be able to witness the world premiere of Chilcott's Wenceslas."
Chilcott, a former member of the Kings Singers, a principal guest conductor of the BBC Singers, and an Oxford University Press composer, was commissioned by Manvinder Rattan, the Partnership's musical director.
The music tells the story of the tenth century Czech legend of a King (Wenceslas) and his page (Podiven), delivering alms on a bitterly cold winter's night with the traditional verses by JM Neale interwoven with text by poet, and good friend of the composer, Charles Bennett.
Chilcott said: "Music is part of the fabric of the John Lewis Partnership, with voice and instrumental tuition available to those who work for Waitrose or John Lewis. When composing the piece, I couldn't help think that the journey of King and Page could be one taken by delivery drivers in foul weather to ensure that customers get their groceries!"
The evening will also feature orchestral seasonal classics including Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker.
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