BBC Symphony Orchestra

BBC Symphony Orchestra

The BBC Symphony Orchestra has played a central role at the heart of British musical life since its inception in 1930, and as the flagship orchestra of the BBC provides the backbone of the BBC Proms with at least a dozen concerts each year, including the First and Last Nights. Strongly committed to twentieth-century and contemporary music, it has given the premiere of more than 1,000 works by composers such as Bartók, Britten, Hindemith, Holst, Stravinsky and Shostakovich, and more recently has premiered BBC commissions by Simon Bainbridge, Jonathan Dove, Michael Nyman and Sir John Tavener among others. Its annual season of concerts as Associate Orchestra of the Barbican includes a weekend each January focusing upon a single composer from the twentieth or twenty-first century, most recently James MacMillan, Elliott Carter and Sofia Gubaidulina.

Jiří Bĕlohlávek took up the post of Chief Conductor in July 2006 and David Robertson was appointed Principal Guest Conductor in 2005. The BBC SO works frequently with Conductor Laureate Sir Andrew Davis and Artist-in-Association John Adams. All concerts are broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and a number are televised, giving the BBC Symphony Orchestra the highest broadcast profile of any orchestra in the UK. The BBC SO is committed to innovative education work, with ongoing projects including the BBC SO Family Orchestra and Music Intro, introducing families to concert-going.

The BBC SO has appeared on 34 of NMC’s CDs, including the best-selling recording of Elgar’s Third Symphony.

BBC Singers

BBC Singers
The BBC Singers is Britain’s only full-time professional chamber choir and a group with an international reputation. Established in 1924, the versatility of this virtuoso 24-voice ensemble is second-to-none, and this flexibility makes the Singers both an important resource in the broadcast music-making of the BBC and a significant presence in British musical life. The BBC Singers’ breadth of repertoire is unsurpassed by any other choral group, singing everything from Renaissance music to the latest contemporary scores, and their unrivalled expertise with the latter has brought about creative relationships with some of the most important composers and conductors of the 20th and 21st centuries. At home on the concert platform as much as in the recording studio, the BBC Singers also regularly work with the BBC’s own orchestras, a wide range of period instrument and contemporary music ensembles, and with a host of internationally-renowned conductors. The group’s rapidly expanding education programme now embraces regular outreach work with school children, youth choirs, the amateur choral community, and young professional composers, singers and conductors. The BBC Singers have a unique place on the British concert scene: a world-class choral ensemble committed to sharing their enthusiasm and creative expertise with audiences and performers, amateurs and professionals, young and old, across the nation and throughout the whole spectrum of the choral community.
Image Credit: 
John Wood

Poole, John


John Poole has given a wide repertoire of choral concerts throughout the world with many and varied organisations.  Especially during his years as Director of the B.B.C Singers he was involved in an enormous output of music of all periods at the highest level.  During these years he regularly conducted choral and orchestral concerts with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and other orchestras in Britain and Europe.  He is a committed advocate of new music and is regularly involved in commissioning new works.  He has a special interest in working in courses and master classes with singers, conductors and composers.

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This addition to NMC's Ancora series reissues Robert Saxton's opera Caritas - based on Arnold Wesker's drama about a walled-up anchoress of the 13th century - alongside his Violin Concerto, Music to Celebrate the Resurrection, In the Beginning and the set of choral motets I Will Awake the Dawn.

Cast of Caritas

Eirian Davies ... Christine   
Jonathan Best ... Bishop Henry of Norwich
Christopher Ventris ... Robert Lonle, Christine's fiance
Linda Hibberd ... Agnes, Christine's mother
Roger Bryson ... William, Christine's father
David Gwynne ... Richard Lonle, Robert's father
Paul Wilson ... Mathew, Christine's parish priest
Galloway Bell ... Bailiff
Bruce Budd ... Villager
Brian Cookson ... Tax collector
Linda Ormiston ... Matilde, a village gossip



These recordings were originally released on Collins Classics.
Reissued with funding from Arts Council England.


'NMC's Ancora series, salvaging deleted recordings, does Saxton proud with this double set. ... The first disc comprises four works, each a journey from darkness to light: Music To Celebrate the Resurrection begins with a crash and proceeds through sinous argument to a sunburst of octave Es.'
The Sunday Times


The Ancora Series is supported by Arts Council England


Disc 1:

Recording date: October 1989 (Music to Celebrate...); 19-20 July 1991 
Recording venue: The Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh (Music to Celebrate...); Studio 1, Abbey Road, London
Engineers: Sean Lewis (Music to Celebrate...); John Timperley / Simon Rhodes 
Producers: John H. West (Music to Celebrate...); Andrew Keener

Disc 2:
Recording date: Recorded live on 21, 23, 24 November 1991
Recording venue: Wakefield Opera House, for Huddersfield Contempoerary Music Festival
Engineer: John Timperley
Producer: Edward Fisk

Cover image: Photo: Malcplm Crowthers

Music to Celebrate... (P) 1990 Collins Classics
Violin Concerto / In the beginning/ I will awake .. (P) 1991 Lambourne Productions Ltd
Caritas (P) 1992 Lambourne Productions Ltd

Chester Novello
Catalogue number:
NMC D102
Release Date:
1 January 2004