Matthew Kaner: Pearl (BBC commission: world premiere)

10 August (Prom 33)
One can hardly ask for a better solo singer for a new work, or indeed any other work requiring a sensitive response to text, than baritone Roderick Williams, who will be singing the world premiere of Pearl by British composer Matthew Kaner (b1986). This sets extracts from a medieval English lament, as translated by Simon Armitage. This tells of a man, mourning the death of a young child, who revisits the place where he lost her. There he falls asleep, and dreams of her in the afterlife. As Kaner explains, his work depicts ‘the protagonist’s earthly mourning, his dream vision and the uncanny yet moving appearance of his daughter in paradise, surrounded by the heavenly choir of all those who have also left this world. It’s an explicitly religious text but I’ve tried to steer the piece towards a universal message of grief and redemption.’