Captain Scott writing his journal during the Terra Nova expedition

City of London Sinfonia, in collaboration with the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI), will embark on an ambitious concert tour in February to celebrate the centenary of the British Antarctic Expedition of 1910-12.

His was a poetic, as well as a scientific journey.

Sean Street

This landmark concert tour seeks to retell the inspiring human story behind this epic expedition to the South Pole through music, words and photography, and features excerpts from Vaughan Williams’ film score Scott of the Antarctic, interwoven with moving readings from Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s expedition diary and letters read by Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville.

The iconic music of Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No. 7 (Sinfonia Antartica) will also be performed, alongside stunning projections of expedition photographs by Herbert Ponting, now digitally restored in high definition.

At the heart of the programme is the world premiere of a new work by British composer Cecilia McDowall, entitled Seventy Degrees Below Zero. The cantata for solo voice and orchestra was inspired by a phrase written by Scott to his wife: “Dear, it is not easy to write because of the cold – 70 degrees below zero.”

Composer McDowall found “the restrained, personal writings of Scott, set against a backdrop of human endeavour and resilience in such inhospitable terrain, deeply affecting and a rich resource on which to draw.”

Featuring leading British tenor Robert Murray, the piece sets McDowall’s music to words by poet Seán Street, who uses as his inspiration entries in Scott’s expedition journals.

“Scott's journals are full of quotations from classical and Victorian poetry,” says Street. “His was a poetic, as well as a scientific journey."

The tour visits Birmingham, Cambridge, Cardiff and Cheltenham between 3-8 February before coming to London as part of Music Nation a Countdown Event for the London 2012 Festival.

This tour is made possible through the generous support of Arts Council England, The Colwinston Trust, The RVW Trust, The Summerfield Charitable Trust and The Vaughan Williams Charitable Trust.

For full concert details visit:

Tickets are available to purchase through the box offices of the individual venues.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence. If you use this content on your site please link back to this page.