Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Radio 4's Shipping Forecast set to music for choir

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Media captionRadio 4's Shipping Forecast is a source of vital information for sailors

Radio 4's Shipping Forecast is the inspiration behind a concert being performed by a Portsmouth choir.

The well-known broadcast has been set to music to mark the 40th anniversary of the city's 70-strong festival choir.

Composer, Cecilia McDowall, said: "There is great beauty in the rhythm. It's something that's mesmerized me for years, because it is beautiful."

The performance is being held in Portsmouth Cathedral.

Broadcast four times a day on BBC Radio 4, the forecast is a vital source of information for sailors, but the terminology is puzzling to some people.

'Rather beguiling'

Ms McDowall added: "There's something rather beguiling and mysterious about the Shipping Forecast which sounds so poetic, but at the same time is very crucial to people at sea.

"There is also this baffling thing, I don't understand it. 'Now falling, sometimes good', I know they mean something to somebody, but even though they don't mean anything to me, I enjoy them."

The piece of music also uses words from a poem by Portsmouth-born poet and broadcaster Sean Street.

Andrew Cleary, the choir's conductor, said: "They are very colourful words, and are very well-known to everybody.

"The first movement of the piece is like a seascape, you can almost smell the sea and see the fog, the second movement is a psalm, a prayer for those at sea, and is quite calm and gentle.

"The third is quite funky, quite exciting and jazzy and captures the energy of the sea."

The concert is part of this year's Portsmouth Festivities - an annual city-wide programme of arts events.

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