In April 2016 there will be celebrations in both England and Spain of two of their greatest writers. Shakespeare and Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote, who died within ten days of each other in that month.

To mark this 400th anniversary, Raymond Calcraft, founder of the Renaissance Choir and former head of Spanish at the University of Portsmouth, will give an illustrated talk in St John’s Hall, St John’s Cathedral, on Thursday 25th February at 7pm.

‘Words and Music’ will discuss aspects of Shakespeare’s and Cervantes’s writings in the light of settings of their words by two twentieth-century composers, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Joaquín Rodrigo (see above image). It will show how poetry can be enhanced and even given additional meaning when set to remarkable music.

As well as lecturing at several universities in this country and abroad, Raymond Calcraft is well known as a writer and conductor, in particular of the music of Rodrigo. As well as founding the Renaissance Choir, he was the first Director of the Portsmouth Festival and Founder-Conductor of the Festival Choir, and he later worked with choirs and orchestras in the UK and in Spain, including the English Chamber and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras.

He has recorded a variety of Spanish sacred music, the Mass in G minor by Vaughan Williams, and several choral and orchestral works by Rodrigo.

Admission free. Ample parking. Light refreshments available. All welcome.