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Vaughan Williams – Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (360 video)

Please note: if using an iOS device, you’ll need to watch the video directly via YouTube for the 360 features to work 

On Saturday 31st July 2021, the string players of Reading’s Aldworth Philharmonic and Berkshire Maestros Camerata were due to perform in the town’s Abbey Ruins, as part of the Abbey 900 celebrations. Sadly, wet weather precluded this, but thanks to Reading Borough Council, they were able to perform in the Concert Hall within Reading Town Hall. This is a 360 video, so move your device around to look at the orchestra, or click and hold the mouse button and move to change the perspective.

The music is Ralph Vaughan Williams’ ‘Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, first performed in 1910 at Gloucester Cathedral. Drawing on Tallis’s Renaissance theme, Vaughan Williams uses a string orchestra split into three parts, which start together but then at various points are used separately: the main string orchestra, a solo quartet drawn from the leaders of the main orchestra (Jonathan Burnett and Ivanka Shana – violin, Victoria Stapleton – viola and Ana Borzone – cello), and a second orchestra (on the stage in this video), often used to create a more distant, ethereal sound, almost like their strings are vibrating in sympathy with the sounds of the main orchestra. The result is a work of spine-tingling intensity, as experienced by audiences who came to the free Covid-secure performances on the 31st July – APO’s first large-scale public performances in 18 months.

APO and Berkshire Maestros are grateful not only to Reading Borough Council, but also to the many generous donors to our crowdfunding campaign to cover the costs of music hire, licensing, professional players and other expenses. This video will be available until 31st October.

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