To mark the bicentenary of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in 2016, a new choral piece, Super Slow Way: A Rhapsody to the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, by composer Ian Stephens, with a libretto by poet Ian McMillan, will be debuted on 16 October 2016 at King George’s Hall, Blackburn featuring choirs, bands and soloists from across the region. The performance will be preceded by an afternoon of outdoor musical entertainment in Blackburn town centre.
Hundreds of Blackburn’s choral voices, including Blackburn People’s Choir, will be joined by the Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band and soloists soprano Amanda Roocroft and cellist Jonathan Aasgaard as well as Ian McMillan himself to tell the story of the country’s longest waterway that took almost half a century to build; its tragedies, its triumphs and the personal stories along the way, past and present.
The piece is a homage to the canal, inspired by McMillan’s poem of the same name. In less than a century, the Leeds & Liverpool canal revolutionised Pennine Lancashire. The poem captures the contrast between what the canal was – a global super highway and major artery of the Industrial Revolution – to what it is today. By 1830, 85 per cent of the world’s cotton goods were manufactured in the small towns of East Lancashire that line the tow path, transforming the area from an agricultural, cottage industry economy and placing it right at the epicentre of British commerce and culture.
Find out more about the upcoming performance on this link; tickets for the event can be obtained online here. Super Slow Way: A Rhapsody to the Leeds & Liverpool Canal will be shortly available on the Composers Edition website. In the meanwhile, do explore Ian Stephens’ previous works here.