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.
We welcome back guest conductor Tom Hammond and popular local pianist Karen Kingsley for our final HSO concert of the season!
From the Chairman …
We are now nearing the end of our first complete season of the post-Craddock era, and looking forward to the final concert on Saturday 5th July. We have arranged for the Ferneham Hall bar to remain open for a while after the concert; players and audience members are invited to come and have a chat before setting off for home.
That’s not quite the end of the season for Havant Symphony Orchestra, because we are now resuming the Bob Harding Bursary for Young Conductors after a two-year pause. This year the auditions will be on the following Tuesday, 8th July, 7pm, at our usual rehearsal venue of St. Faith’s Hall. This has been changed from our usual Friday to allow our new conductor Jonathan Butcher to attend the audition. Non-playing members (season ticket holders) are welcome to come and listen.
This is also the end of my first season in my new role as chairman of the society, with my wife Stella as administrator. In practice, our roles have been far more complex, as we also had to take on most of Sandra Craddock’s publicity role (including producing programmes, posters and newsletters) and, in the absence of a permanent musical director, much of Peter Craddock’s role in planning the next season, although we appreciate the help we received from our future HSO principal conductor Jonathan Butcher.
In the spirit of amateur music-making and keeping down costs, I also offered to take on some conducting myself this season, at least on a trial basis, and I appreciate the support I received from the committee and players. I particularly enjoyed conducting a rehearsal of Tchaikovsky Symphony No 6 in January (to cover a date when the guest conductor was unavailable), and also the recent HSO strings concert at Waterlooville Music Festival, which was very successful. I also had a couple of brief unplanned conducting opportunities due to our guest conductors having transport problems!
I don’t have any further conducting engagements planned at the moment, and for next season we expect to have a bursary student available to take over if our principal conductor is unavailable. However, it was useful to establish that I am able to help out if necessary, and I’m grateful to HSO for the experience.
The success of the recent HSO strings concert at Waterlooville Music Festival opens the possibility of doing further similar concerts in future, at smaller venues but with lower costs than our main concerts, and we will be taking this into account in our future planning.
Looking ahead now to next season, it has only recently come to our attention that for Havant Chamber Orchestra, this will be their 50th anniversary season, as their first concert was on 6th July 1965. We had already very appropriately chosen a golden yellow colour scheme for the HCO concerts in the brochure and for the HCO season tickets. So far we have not thought of any specific way to celebrate this event, so if you have any helpful ideas please feel free to let us know!
Season ticket sales for the next season are now well under way, but so far sales for the HSO concerts at Oaklands School in Waterlooville are lagging well behind those for Ferneham Hall, so we need to make an extra effort to let people in the Havant and Waterlooville area know about our concerts. We understand that Waterlooville is a long way for some of our Fareham audience, and we need to do more to reduce long queues for tickets and refreshments. However, the warm acoustics make the overall musical experience with a larger orchestra much more rewarding for both the audience and the players compared with Ferneham Hall, and the additional space for players gives us more flexibility to take on larger works. Please let us know if you can help us with publicity, such as submitting press articles or distributing posters around the Waterlooville and Havant areas.
For HCO, continuing at Ferneham Hall next season, we are pleased to have made significant progress this season in countering the effects of the dry acoustics by moving the whole of the smaller orchestra onto the main stage area. This has made it easier for the players to hear one another clearly, enabling a higher quality performance as well as improving the overall sound.
After the summer break we resume with our AGM on Friday 5th September, for which the formal notice is on the back page. All members including season ticket holders are very welcome. After the formalities, we also have our first short Havant Symphony Orchestra rehearsal to start preparing for our pre-season ‘Popular Classics’ concert.
Colin Jagger conducted our sell-out Hayling concert last year and will be conducting again at Hayling Island Community Centre on Saturday 20th September this year, in a programme which includes Dvořák’s ‘New World’ Symphony and Bruch’s Violin Concerto No 1 with outstanding violinist Fenella Humphreys. Further details are on the back page of this newsletter.
Saturday 5 July's Programme
at Ferneham Hall, Fareham
Pre-concert Talk6:30pm in the auditorium
Our regular pre-concert talks in the auditorium provide background information about one or more of the works being performed. Our guest conductor Tom Hammond will be talking about Elgar’s ‘Enigma’ Variations.
Upbeat!6:30pm in the Meon Room
We’re sorry to say that our regular Upbeat team are unavailable on this occasion, and at the time of writing we have not found anyone else, so there will probably not be any Upbeat club meeting before the concert.
Pre-Concert Interlude7:00pm in the Octagon Lounge
We hope to have a performance by local music pupils in the Octagon Lounge at this time, but so far nothing definite has been arranged.
Notes from the conductor…
As with my last concert with HSO, it’s both a delight and nerve-wracking in equal measure to conduct a number works for my first time. In this programme in fact it’s everything; apart from the Elgar!
The received wisdom about Chopin’s Piano Concerto is that whilst he was of course an inspired poet of the keyboard, he knew little about orchestral writing. What’s one trombone doing in the woodwind section, for example?! My feeling is rather more positive, and that actually that it is a carefully balanced ensemble, with prominent and idiomatic writing for bassoon and horn especially. It’s enchanting music, and I’m delighted to be accompanying Karen Kingsley as our soloist.
The link between the Concerto and the Enigma Variations is that of a human connection, in that Chopin was portraying the object of his affection / obsession at the time, the singer Konstancja Gladowska.
Enigma Variations, or to give it the composer’s full title ‘Variations on an Original Theme’ is simply a masterpiece, on a number of levels. We can (and I hope do!) simply enjoy the melodies, the contrasting moods, and the clearly expressed affection for friends that pours off the page and into our ears. We also know that a further Enigma - the penultimate movement, marked *** when all the others have the initials of their musical subjects - is very likely to refer to the object of the composer’s greatest, and secret, love.
From a technical perspective, the skill Elgar displays as a virtuoso of the orchestra is breathtaking. There are daunting challenges for every instrument, but each is calculated to perfection and - with dedication - players can overcome these to superb musical effect.
Possibly the most impressive aspect is how he takes the haunting melodic line and accompanying chords we hear in the first six bars, and manipulates this material to portray individual characters: His lovers, musical colleagues, local ‘characters’....even a dog!
For me, the piece is perhaps Elgar’s finest (alongside the 2nd Symphony) and although I have conducted it several times before, every time I open this score I see / hear something new. It’s a delight to be asked to perform this with HSO, and I hope many will join us for this final concert of the 2013-14 season.
CDs for this concertSourced by Gordon Egerton (Clarinet)
Berlioz - Overture ‘Le carnaval
Tchaikovsky - Marche Slave
Chopin - Piano Concerto no.1
Elgar - Enigma Variations
Formal Notice of AGM
The AGM of the Havant and District Orchestral Society will be held at 7.00pm on Friday 5 September 2014 at St Faith’s Church Hall, The Pallant, Havant. All members of the Society (that is, playing members and season ticket holders) are invited to attend.
Places are available on the committee and nominations for election may be sent to the Chairman in advance (with the names of candidate, proposer and seconder) or submitted at the meeting.
Following the AGM, refreshments will be served and the evening will conclude with a rehearsal to which all non-playing members are invited.
Saturday 20th September 2014,
|Overture Leonora No.3||Beethoven|
|Violin Concerto No 1 in G minor||Bruch|
|Soloist: Fenella Humphreys|
|Symphony No 9 in E minor,|
From the New World
Tickets: £12.00; Seniors:
£10.00 (Season Ticket Holders also £10.00)
Students: £6.00; Children: £1.00 on sale
at Ferneham Hall on 5th
July, at the AGM on 5th September, then from early August in person
from HICC and Hayling Island Bookshop Mengham, and by post
(enclose SAE, please) from
HADOS Tickets Secretary,
Meon Place Cottage,
Cheques payable to HADOS, please.
Other Musical Eventscompiled by Geoff Porter
Sunday 13th July at 6.00 pm
Spring into Summer:
Portsmouth Baroque Choir at
St. George’s Church, Waterlooville
Moeran, Shearing, Rutter,
Tippett & Chilcott
Sunday 21st September at 7.00pm
The Consort of Twelve (strings & wind):
Purcell, Corelli, Boyce, Heinichen,
Vivaldi & Telemann
Tickets £14 from 01243 371128.
Society contact information can be found on the Contacts page within this web site.