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Bath Festival: Symphony of Sorrowful Songs with Paraorchestra

Wed 8 December, 2021 at 7:30 pm until 8:30 pm

Image caption: Museum of the Moon by Luke Jerram. Ely Cathedral. Photo (c) James Billings

Tickets are £25 (excluding fees), with discounts for students and the under 26s, from: https://bathfestivals.org.uk/the-bath-festival/event/sorrowful-songs/ or from Bath Box Office, tel: 01225 463362.

Cathartic and hauntingly beautiful, Henryk Górecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs is an astonishing meditation on loss and transcendence.

Performed by Paraorchestra, with acclaimed soprano Victoria OruwariCharles Hazlewood conducts this harmonic ‘spiritual minimalist’ composition in the deep, vast, and dark splendour of Bath Abbey.

Each of the three movements of Symphony of Sorrowful Songs features a Polish lament, including a message inscribed on the wall of a Gestapo prison cell from a teenage girl to her Mother, and a Mother’s folk song about her son lost in the Silesian civil war. Sung in Polish, it’s an evocative work that brings both tears and joy, taking audiences on an uplifting journey through grief and solace. A recording by soprano Dawn Upshaw and David Zinman with the London Sinfonietta topped the classical music charts and reached number six on the mainstream U.K. album chart and selling over a million copies

Charles Hazelwood explains the passion and purpose of this musical installation “What better place to share this work than Bath Abbey? Deep within this astonishing and magical space the orchestra will be placed right in the centre of the nave, in a circle, facing inwards. Like all our projects, making orchestral music accessible and presenting it in new and unexpected ways is fundamental.” This style and performance set up encourages you to move around the orchestra and explore the abbey, observing and listening to the music from different perspectives for a fully immersive experience.

Event information

This is a roaming event with no designated seats. Some seating will be available for those unable to stand, and marked out with a 2m distance in the corporation stall and benches.

Whilst in many venues capacity restrictions and social distancing have been removed, for this concert we want to ensure that audiences can still manage their own personal safety. We ask that everyone wears a face covering (unless medically exempt) and that they make space between themselves and other audience members, musicians, and staff.

For more information about accessibility and how to book a personal assistant complimentary ticket, please click here

If you already have tickets, these will automatically be transferred over to the new event and Bath Box Office will send you new tickets.

About Paraorchestra

Bristol-based Paraorchestra create large scale and dynamic music experiences,
blending artforms and technology to create innovative new ways of experiencing orchestral music. They are as at home playing Philip Glass’s Heroes Symphony headlining a main stage at Glastonbury Festival, or taking a 70-piece ensemble playing banging pop tunes through the streets of Bristol, as they are filming a secret gig with Brett Anderson, or Beethoven’s 5th Symphony for Sky Arts broadcast.

Their ensembles feature professional disabled and non-disabled musicians,
playing a mix of analogue, digital, and assistive instruments. Paraorchestra are not only radically changing who connects with orchestral music, but, shifting the perception of disability by removing the outdated barriers that too often prevent a showcase of excellence in disabled players.

We ask that you read our Covid-guidance before attending the event:

Keeping you safe


Wed 8 December, 2021
7:30 pm until 8:30 pm
Event Category:


Bath Abbey
Bath, + Google Map