Manchester music reviews

Halle Orchestra, photo by Joel Chester Fildes

Last Train to Tomorrow at Bridgewater Hall

Exciting Carl Davis premiere for 2012 with the Hallé and Hallé Children's Choir

To be reviewed by Denis Joe June 2012


Last Train to Tomorrow: For children’s choir, actors and orchestra based on the story of the Kindertransport.


Sunday 17 June 2012 at 3pm in The Bridgewater Hall will see the world premiere of Last Train to Tomorrow, a new work composed and conducted by Carl Davis (CBE) and commissioned by the Hallé Concerts Society for the Hallé and Hallé Children’s Choir.


The Kindertransport, which took place from 1938 to 1939, saw over 10,000 Jewish children brought to England, an act of generosity, which saved them from the Holocaust. The first Kindertransport arrived at Harwich on December 2 1938, bringing 196 children from a Berlin Jewish orphanage burned by the Nazis during the night of November 9. Most of the children left by train from Vienna, Berlin, Prague and other major cities (children from small towns travelled to meet the transports), crossed the Dutch and Belgian borders and went on by ship to England. None were accompanied by their parents and some were babies carried by children. The transports ended with the outbreak of war in September 1939. Very few of the children ever saw their families again.


Last Train to Tomorrow presents this extraordinary story in a sequence of ten songs by Davis, linked by first person narration, ending with the children’s safe arrival at Liverpool Street Station in London, meeting their sponsors and starting a new life. The text is by the celebrated children’s author Hiawyn Oram and the orchestration is for strings, percussion, and piano duet.


This premiere will feature the Hallé, Hallé Children’s Choir and young actors from the Manchester Metropolitan University School of Theatre directed by David Shirley.


The rest of the concert programme mirrors the journey taken by the children, starting with Vltava from Smetana’s Má Vlast, which became an anthem for the people of Prague. Humperdinck’s song Brother Come and Dance With Me from his opera Hansel and Gretel was famously recorded in 1929 by the Hallé and over 250 local children in Manchester’s Free Trade Hall, under Sir Hamilton Harty. The performance will also feature Britten’s iconic introduction to the orchestra for young people, The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. 



Listings information:
Venue: The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
Date of concert: Sunday 17 June 2012
Time: 3pm
Prices: £13 adults | £7 children | family ticket £33 (four people including at least one child)
Booking: 0161 907 9000 (0844 907 9000 from 1 May),


Smetana Má Vlast: Vltava
Humperdinck Brother Come and Dance With Me
Britten The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra
Carl Davis Last Train to Tomorrow (world premiere, Hallé commission)

Carl Davis conductor | The Hallé | Hallé Children’s Choir
Young actors from the Manchester Metropolitan University School of Theatre
David Shirley director | Text by Hiawyn Oram

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