A work for large symphony orchestra and male voice choir, gets a more intimate treatment.
Premiered in February 2014, Heroes of the Helen Blake was commissioned by Wexford Sinfonia to mark the orchestra’s 20th anniversary.
The original work is in five movements and is scored for large orchestra and male voice choir. This more intimate chamber version is in two movements and is scored for solo violin and string orchestra. Performed here with the amazing Mia Cooper...
The work pays tribute to the brave volunteers of the lifeboat service and particularly those who lost their lives in the dramatic rescue of the crew of the S.V. Mexico, a Norwegian schooner which hit the rocks off the coast of Wexford in 1914. The first lifeboat to launch was the Helen Blake with a crew of fourteen men from the nearby coastal town of Fethard. Within moments of arriving, it too was thrown against the rocks and nine of its crew were drowned. A three day rescue with lifeboats from nearby coastal communities in treacherous conditions, brought the remaining crews of the Helen Blake and the Mexico, home to safety.
The melodies of two Wexford sea shanties The Coast of Malabar and Whiskey Johnny are woven into the composition. Also references to the hymn tune Hail Queen of Heaven the Ocean Star, mark the great faith of those who go to sea and those who wait ashore.
Check out the premier performance from February 2014... HERE