Like The Sea, Like Time

Yet again, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic attracted an almost full house for the world premiere of Kenneth Hesketh’s shattering, monumental work Like the Sea, Like Time. Unusually for the present day, this work was commissioned using private funds, thanks to the generosity of the HB Bicket Charitable Trust. And that trust must have felt that it was money well spent, for it earned a warm response from the audience.

It was, however, an ambitious piece, and is one of four large-scale choral premieres scheduled for the Capital of Culture year. Not only was the RLPO hugely augmented, but the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir was also joined by the Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir and the New London Chamber Choir.
The lyrical and evocative opening metamorphosed into a multi-layered choral prologue in which the drama built to a massive climax, a tiny trickle slowly becoming a raging torrent. At times, the first part was listless, at others almost calm. Right through the piece the word-painting by the orchestra richly complemented the narrative of the words.

The restless cross-rhythms in the second part led to a furious depiction of storms in which choral voices were also used as instruments to add to the drama. The children’s choir was particularly special, coping with complex lines with ease and with a purity of tone and clarity of diction. The adult choirs, too, produced some splendid a cappella sections in part three.

Tenor John Daszak was a fine lyrical soloist and Conductor Harry Bicket, perhaps more often associated with early music, drew the drama out of this piece in fine style.
21 January 2008
Liverpool Daily Post
Glyn Mon Hughes