This is an edited version of the Havant Orchestras newsletter which is provided in printed form (or e-mailed in PDF format, if requested) to players and Friends of the Orchestras.
- Remarks from the Chair
- Best Classical Act!
- Saturday 9 February – the Programme
- Upbeat in the Meon Room at 6.30
- Pre-Concert Interlude
- Robin Browning’s Biography
- Saturday’s Conductor in Conversation
- CDs for this concert
- For Sale in the Meon Room
- Needed Urgently, PLEASE!
- Tickets, Tickets, Tickets ...
- Other Musical Events
The Orchestras Are
Best Classical Act – Official!!!
Remarks from the Chair
A Happy New Year to you all!
Peter Craddock’s final HSO concert in early December was a resounding success with Peter conducting a memorable and stirring account of Rachmaninov’s 2nd Symphony after an equally special first half conducted by Robert Hodge. I thank them on behalf of all of us who had the pleasure to be involved – audience, players and helpers alike. I also thank the excellent soloists in that very special performance of Brahms’s Double Concerto: Alexander Sitkovetsky and Richard Harwood. We hope to see them both again soon and one of them possibly very soon. Watch this space.
However, it is sad that Peter is not able to conduct HCO’s forthcoming concert although every cloud has a silver-lining but I am not sure Robin Browning has been described as a ‘silver-lining’ before! Robin’s availability at short notice is a splendid solution to Peter’s indisposition and we are grateful to him for stepping in. He has an excellent conducting pedigree plus local connections as conductor of the University of Southampton Symphony Orchestra and the Petersfield Orchestra. I wish him well in this concert and look forward to it greatly.
Peter has indicated he hopes to conduct the May HCO concert but this will depend on his mobility then. He has also indicated that May might be his final concert as conductor of the Havant Orchestras. This would be the end of an era but I will save further comment for a future occasion.
This is a time of considerable transition for the Orchestras and the Society. We are not only losing Peter, but Sandra Craddock has also announced her intention to substantially reduce her involvement as Administrator. Whilst this will be a gradual process, her depth and range of involvement in support of our music making over many years means that we will be left with huge gaps in our organisation. This, together with the imminent departure of other familiar faces (including my own) means that it is essential for others to come forward and make a contribution. Some recent offers of help with specific tasks have been gratefully received. However, there are many more roles and tasks to fill including: Friends Secretary, aspects of marketing, advertising and PR, and indeed my role as Chairman. Please contact me if you can help in any way – large or small. The survival of this excellent Society as well as the continuity of our music-making and listening depends on you.
BEST CLASSICAL ACT!
The Orchestras were rewarded for all their hard work over 50 years (plus giving enjoyment to goodness knows how many listeners) last Monday, 28th, at the King’s Theatre when they received (via Chairman, Steve Bartholomew and Administrator, Sandra Craddock) the Trophy for ‘Best Classical Act’ at The News’ Guide Awards.
A very big ‘Thank You’ to all those who voted for them because readers’ votes were very important. The trophy was presented by Peter Rhodes who was a soloist with HCO last season in front of a large audience who gave the Orchestras a really warm ovation – which Steve and Sandra ‘accepted’ on their behalf. It was a pity that only one other supporter was there in the ‘official’ party but from the reception the Award received there must have been many others in the audience.
In addition to acknowledging the players’ contribution to the music-making, Steve paid tribute to Peter’s long and distinguished time as conductor and said that it was really Peter’s Award while Sandra refuted this on Peter’s behalf as he has always said that all the Awards are due to the Orchestras!
This was the 3rd Award that has come to the HOs – Peter received the first in 2005, and a ‘Special Achievement Award’ in 2009 and now the Orchestras ‘in their own right’ for 2012.
Congratulations all round!
Saturday 9 February – the Programme
Upbeat – in the Meon Room at 6.30
As I will be VERY BUSY(!) on Saturday, I’ve asked my friend Elise Fairley to lead Upbeat this time. She works with me on other projects and will definitely give you all an interesting and exciting time! She hasn’t told me what she has decided to explore / explain / devise / organise for you so it will be a big surprise and I’m sure you’ll be amazed!
Please come and join her - and I’ll be back with you all in March.
PS - Hope you enjoy the Mozart!
The Pre-Concert Interlude
in the Octagon Lounge, 7.00 – 7.20pm
A sixth form student from Oaklands College will be playing the violin.
Robin Browning’s Biography
Robin enjoys a busy conducting career in the UK and abroad. He is currently music is currently director of five orchestras — de Havilland Philharmonic, Wimbledon Symphony Orchestra, Petersfield Orchestra, Southampton University Symphony Orchestra and Essex Youth Orchestra. His debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at London’s Barbican was broadcast on Classic FM. He has conducted the Hallé, English Northern Philharmonia, Northern Sinfonia, Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Intercontemporain, St Petersburg Festival Orchestra, Estonian National Youth Orchestra, and in 2011 made his US debut with the Boise Philharmonic. He took 2nd prize in the NAYO Conducting Competition in 1994, and won the inaugural Boosey & Hawkes Award at the Edinburgh Festival the following year.
Robin has been assistant conductor to Benjamin Zander with the Philharmonia Orchestra and has also assisted Sir Mark Elder and Wayne Marshall. He studied at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena with Ilya Musin and Myung-Whun Chung, furthering his training in the USA with Joseph Gifford.
In 2008 he was invited to the David Oistrakh Festival in Estonia for masterclasses with Neeme and Paavo Järvi. He also studied with Sir Charles Mackerras, Sian Edwards and Markus Stenz. Now established as a teacher himself, Robin runs the conducting course at the University of Southampton. He is passionately committed to training younger musicians and conducts orchestras at Trinity College of Music and Guildhall School of Music. In 2008 he was involved in the Barbican Young Orchestra project with Peter Stark and Sir Colin Davis.
Robin has four commercially-released CDs currently available, including many world-premiere recordings.
Saturday’s Conductor in Conversation
Your biography is concerned with your conducting career but how and why did you begin conducting?
I remember being very inspired by my head-of-music at school, up in rural Yorkshire. He was very musical, and very charismatic. Not long after that, I was stealing my mother’s knitting needles and hacking away at Beethoven in front of my bedroom mirror.
The bug had bitten me, even though I’d never stood up in front of real humans! I did some bits and bobs whilst at school, then at University in London I got my hands on the symphony orchestra. Looking back, I was probably flailing my arms around like a fool, but I had the conviction in my heart then, as well as some sensation in my arms, and I never looked back. I spent the next 10 years realising how much a conductor needs to study, to train, and really work. I still do this now, as our development never really finishes.
How are the programmes selected for the orchestras you conduct regularly?
They vary, and the process is never easy! Most often there’s a small group of people who work out the next season’s repertoire. It then gets chopped, changed, and sometimes we start all over again. There are so many more things to take into account than the average concert-goer realises, you can’t simply plonk pieces together and hope they work. It also depends on what I’d like to do, too, of course: I have a (quite long) wish-list, which includes things like Gerontius and the Brahms Requiem. One day, perhaps...
Have you already conducted all the works in Saturday’s programme?
I’ve performed the Haydn and the Mozart before, but quite some time ago. I don’t work too often with a chamber orchestra, so, for me, it’s a delight to spend time on this repertoire.
Which work in the programme particularly appeals to you and does it have any special ‘listening points’ for the audience?
There are strong points in each of the pieces, of course. The Haydn is justly renowned, for many reasons. But I’d have to say the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante is always close to my heart (not least because I was a violinist in a former life). The slow movement is one of the most deeply-touching, yearning and passionate in all Mozart, in that ever-tragic key of C minor.
Is Gordon Jacob’s music familiar to you? and especially the ‘Old Wine ...’?
I encountered some pieces when I was younger, but I’ve never conducted a note of his music until now, although I’ve known about plenty of it. Until I was asked to conduct this concert, the piece was known to me in name only. Of course the folk-songs on which each one is based are very famous, but his treatment of them is very clever and engaging.
Have you worked with any members of HCO while conducting other ensembles?
Yes, there are quite a number of familiar names and faces dotted around the orchestra. I work with the Petersfield Orchestra, just up the road, so a lot are known through that connection. And despite the fact that I’m conducting all over the country (and abroad), I live in Southampton, as do a number of the players.
Your biography lists no less than five orchestras that you conduct regularly; do you get a ‘buzz’ from working with them?
Yes I do! They’re all different. Very different! Orchestras have a distinct personality, whether it’s a professional orchestra or an amateur one. Even youth and Conservatoire ensembles have a personality, too, although it’s inevitably in more of a state of flux. That personality is tangible from the very first moment one steps onto the podium. You can really sense it. And it’s a two-way process, of course. Conducting is a profession like any other, with its fair share of frustrations, but I don’t think I’ll ever lose that ‘buzz’ – particularly in concert.
Thank you, Robin – hope we all get the ‘buzz’ on Saturday!
– Sandra Craddock, who posed the questions.
CDs for this concert
Sourced by Gordon Egerton (Clarinet)
Schubert – Italian Style Overture in C
Jacob – Old Wine in New Bottles
Mozart – Sinfonia Concertante in E flat
Haydn – Symphony No 100, ‘Military’
For Sale in the Meon Room
before the concert,
Needed Urgently, PLEASE!
A volunteer to deliver posters and handbills in GOSPORT. Just six times a year but you’ll need to find some sites! Contact Sandra – 023 9248 3228.
Tickets, Tickets, Tickets ...
for HCO’s May Concert at Holy Trinity Church will be on sale at the Table in the Foyer on Saturday and/or from Margaret on 01243 377430. (Season Ticket Holders £10.00 / Full Price £12.00.)
Other Musical Events
Thursday 7 February 7.30pm
Assembly Rooms, Chichester
Tickets £15 from 01243 781312 & at the door
Saturday 16 February, 7.30pm
St Faith’s Church, Lee-on-the-Solent
Valentines Music for lovers everywhere
Saturday 23rd February 7.30pm
St Thomas’ Cathedral, Portsmouth
Tickets from 01252 711658 no prices listed
Saturday 16 March 7.30pm
Ferneham Hall, Fareham, Havant S O
Helios Overture Nielsen
Society Contact Details are at the back of the current Programme Book.
Contact information can also be found on the Contacts page within this web site.