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Newsletter for March 2011

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.

From the Chairman …

The Symphony Orchestra has been hard at work preparing for this programme which is full of challenges but such fun to play.  The ‘Sicilian Vespers’ is quite unlike anything I have ever played in my 40+ years with the Orchestra – so operatic, so ‘heart on sleeve’ whereas the Tchaikovsky Symphony is full of delightful ballet music.  In between Malcolm Arnold shows off his wonderful talent for creating orchestral colour with Sam in charge and then our own Rob Blanken will give us a dazzling performance of Weber’s very fresh and original concerto.  It’s hard to believe it was written in 1811.

You will see from the programme book that we have received generous sponsorship for this concert by Beryl Harding and by the Bedhampton Charitable Trust.  Without such help it would be difficult to continue so we are extremely grateful to them.

The programme for our festive 50th anniversary season will be announced at our next concert in May.  At present we have to be even more aware than usual of financial restrictions but I’m sure you will agree when you see it that this is a splendid programme.  There is one last item to be finalised: we would like to include a major very festive and entertaining work by Malcolm Arnold but it would have to be hired, would incur Performing Right Society fees as it is copyright and would need a harp, all of which amounts to over £600.  We have very viable alternatives but if you and/or a group of friends feel able to support all or part of the cost then please get in touch urgently.

Still on the inevitable subject of money, my own contribution is to ask for sponsorship as I walk 1000 miles during 2011.  I’ve done over 200 miles already and I should raise nearly £700 if I make it to the 1000.  If you would like to sponsor me say for 1p/mile or ½p/mile perhaps we can make the £1000.  The forms will be with Geoff Porter on the Friends’ table or you can contact me direct.

Back to more exciting things.  See below for details of our Concerto Evening at Hayling Island on 10 June.  I hope to see you there and of course at Ferneham Hall on Saturday.

Tony Gutteridge
(023 9247 4681 or

Saturday 26 March - Music and Events

6.30 Pre-concert talk for ’grown-ups’ by David Goodall – Tchaikovsky and his ‘Polish’ Symphony
and Upbeat Club for younger listeners.
7.00 Interlude (although none booked at present)
plus … Book, Music and CDs and Jewellery on sale
7.30 The Concert
Overture Sicilian Vespers  Verdi 
**Little Suite No 1  Malcolm Arnold 
**Clarinet Concerto No 1 
Soloist:  Rob Blanken 
Interval – 20 minutes
Symphony No 3, ‘Polish’  Tchaikovsky 
**Conducted by Samuel Draper
9.35 approx   end of the concert
Bon voyage

Notes from the Conductor …

We have been having a lot of pleasure in working on Tchaikovsky’s 3rd Symphony.  Just why it remains the least played of his 7 (8) symphonies is a perplexing mystery since it is chock full of stirring music with memorable melodies, driving rhythms and confident, colourful instrumental textures.  Its nickname The Polish creates a superficial expectation of national flavour but, apart from the closing movement’s bracketed designation Tempo di Polacca, (literally ‘in the time and rhythm of a polonaise’ – which it isn’t!) there is nothing particularly Polish about the symphony at all – it is pure Russian and about as Tchaikovskian as you can get.  As for the spurious programme concocted in this symphony’s early years concerning the fall and rise of Poland’s fortunes – we can dismiss that fairy-tale out of hand.  Thus, unimpeded by these fanciful notions, we can enjoy Tchaikovsky’s 3rd Symphony for its basic appealing qualities – and marvel at the resurgence in creativity from a composer whose first piano concerto had recently taken such a critical battering.

Despite the fact that it is the only one of the composer’s symphonies in a major key and its inspiration extended to five rather then the usual four movements, the sonic fingerprints are massively Tchaikovskian.  However, this is Tchaikovsky transformed.  The familiar gloomy, doubt-ridden opening (bracketed ‘Tempo di marcia funebre’) is soon banished never to return.  With a gradual quickening of speed the first movement’s main theme – an energetic march – emerges as bright as a button.  The more reflective secondary theme on wistful oboe is energised with lively dance accompaniment from the strings which is more ‘Polacca’ than anything found in the finale.  You cannot help but be carried along in the general sweep of this opening movement and its ever-exciting closing pages are as inspiring as anything the composer produced.

Prepare to be transported to different lands in the three central movements - a balletic German dance (why and how ‘German’?, I muse); a folk-like Andante having some darker Slavonic hues with prominent solos for bassoon and horn and a heart-stoppingly beautiful string melody; then a fearsomely difficult Arctic scherzo whose wispy thematic material seems fashioned out of the slenderest of ideas.

Down to more characteristic Russian earth in the Finale.  Tchaikovsky’s Italian mood/speed title of Allegro con fuoco (literally ‘lively and fiery’) seems to me a trifle impetuous – at least until the wind-up in the closing bars.  So I am adopting a more majestic approach to this three-legged march – which oddly brings it more in line with a typical Polonaise (help!).  If there is one minor weakness in the momentum it lies in an overuse of imitative counterpoint and fugal hold-ups.  Rather naughtily I am excising one of these fugal sections altogether which will please fans of Sir Thomas Beecham who did the same.

At the time of one-finger typing the make-up of the orchestra is in quite a fluid state with several ‘regulars’ missing.  Tony Gutteridge has taken over the mantle of squad organiser and you will see a number of unfamiliar faces – to whom very many thanks for playing on Saturday.  You could try to guess their nationalities but as far as I know, none of them is Polish – neither is the symphony.

Peter Craddock

UPBEAT CLUB!  at 6.30

Hello all Young (and young-at-heart) Concert Attenders!

Saturday’s pre-concert talk will be all about the instruments of the orchestra so please come to the Meon Room at 6.30pm and if you play an orchestral instrument, please bring it with you.

If you don’t already play an instrument - or you’d like to try a different one, I shall have a selection with me.

It’s going to be an exciting time as I’m planning to have the photo session that didn’t happen in February (when I had an accident on the concert afternoon) so please look your best!  Please tell your parents/guardians about this as the photos will be used … … to launch our NEW ... UPBEAT CLUB website … and they must give permission for the photos to be taken and for me to post them on the website as well.  If they would like more information about our exciting plans, please ask them to contact me: by mobile: 07966 216 887 or e-mail:

I’m looking forward to seeing you all on Saturday and telling you lots about the instruments and the website.

Becky Hill

CDs for Sale (1)

Viv McLean, piano soloist in February, unexpectedly brought copies of his debut CD to the concert but he forgot to take the remainder home.  They will be on sale on Saturday at the Table in the Foyer and cost £10.00. 

The live recording was made at the Wigmore Hall and the programme is:

Brahms – Two Rhapsodies, Op 79
Liszt – Six Consolations, S172
Schubert – Sonata in B flat, D960 and
Grieg – Arietta from the Lyric Pieces.

CDs for Sale (2)


Browse in the Meon Room before the concert, at the interval and afterwards!

10% to Orchestra Funds

CD ideas for this concert

Sourced by GE

Verdi  Overture Sicilian Vespers
Hungarian State Opera Orch / Morandi
c/w Verdi Overtures Volume 1
Naxos 8.553018   Bargain price

Malcolm Arnold  Little Suite No 1, Op 53
City of London Sinfonia / Hickox
c/w Suites 2 & 3, Cto for 28 players & Variations on a Theme of Ruth Gipps
Chandos Chan 9509   Full price

Weber  Clarinet Concerto No 1
Casola / Russian Chamber Phil / Gilbo
c/w 2nd Concerto and Clarinet Quintet
Sony Classical 88697 37632-2  Full price

Tchaikovsky  Symphony No 3, Polish
Gothenburg SO / Jaarvi
c/w other Tchaikovsky Orchestral works
BIS SACD 1468   Full price

A Rather Special Evening

Thursday 31st March, 7.30 pm at Stansted House, Rowlands Castle.

Becky Hill’s Nadina String Quartet playing Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik; the 1st movement of Haydn's "The Lark" quartet and a Rondo by Beethoven.  Followed by a group of young musicians playing music the audience has chosen!

Tickets, £7.50 including refreshments, can be reserved or purchased from The Stansted Park Office on 023 9241 2265.

Concertos galore-rious!

An extravaganza with Havant’s (Symphony Orchestra) ALL STARS

Rachmaninov, Mozart, Lalo, Mendelssohn, to name but a few …

with … viola   clarinet   french horn   piano   cello   violin   basset horn

Friday 10 June
7.00 - 9.30 pm




OTHERS - £5.00  except …..Under 18s - just £1.00

On sale on SATURDAY at the Table in the Foyer and soon at the Community Centre

Adverts in our Programme

We would like to expand the range of adverts in the Programme Book.  If: you have a business that would benefit from such exposure or: you would like to help the Society by approaching possible customers, please contact Tony or Sandra – 023 9248 3228.  We hope to hear from you soon.

A big ‘thank you’ …

… to the kind supporters who replenished the Poster-distribution Section’s envelope stock.

It was an amazing response and much appreciated.  We are always happy to receive A4 size envelopes and are equally happy to dispense posters to willing ‘poster-posters’!

STOP PRESS – Friends’ Garden Party

Book Sunday 12 JUNE now changed to Sunday 19 JUNE 3.00pm for The Friends’ Garden Party in Fareham. 

Everyone welcome,
Tickets at our May HCO concert.

Other Musical Events

Saturday 9 April, 7.30pm
Holy Trinity Church, West St, Fareham,
Fareham Philharmonic Choir

Mozart - Requiem and Exsultate,
Vivaldi - Gloria

Tickets: £11.00 (conc £9.50) child £2.00
Box Office 01329 664948, & at the door.

FRIDAY 15 April, 1.00 – 2.00pm
URC, Osborn Road, Fareham
Gosport and Fareham Music Society
Sebastian Millett, cello & Christopher Taylor, piano
including Brahms’ Cello Sonata in F.

Tickets £8.00 at the door

Saturday 30 April, 7.30pm
Portsmouth Grammar School, High Street
Portsmouth Music Club
Piano Recital by Karen Kingsley

Admission – Visitors £6.00 at the door.

WEDNESDAY 20 April, 7.30pm
Chichester University,
Funtington Music Group
University Student Showcase Concert

Visitors £10.  Contact 01243 378900

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.

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