Department store John Lewis has commissioned world renowned composer Bob Chilcott to write a piece of music to mark the retailer's 150th anniversary.

The special composition will be performed this Christmas at the Royal Albert Hall by the Partnership's orchestra, the Cavendish Ensemble, and will feature singers from John Lewis and Waitrose branches from across the country, all lead by Chilcott, a former member of the Kings Singers, a principal guest conductor of the BBC Singers.

The music will tell the story of the tenth century Czech legend of a King (Wenceslas) and his page (Podiven), delivering alms on a bitterly cold winter's night with the traditional verses by JM Neale interwoven with text by poet, and friend of the composer, Charles Bennett.

John Lewis managing director Andy Street explains: "In a business that has music in its DNA, this is a unique, special way to close a year of celebration. Now members of the public, as well as Partners from Waitrose and John Lewis, will be able to witness the world premiere of Chilcott's Wenceslas."

Chilcott added: "Music is part of the fabric of the John Lewis Partnership, with voice and instrumental tuition available to those who work for Waitrose or John Lewis. When composing the piece, I couldn't help think that the journey of King and Page could be one taken by delivery drivers in foul weather to ensure that customers get their groceries!"

 

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