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Newsletter for March 2014

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 guest conductor Levon Parikian for a colourful concert
ranging from Arnold’s “Pre-Goodman Rag” to Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique”

From the Chairman …

The Havant Orchestras have been very busy recently!

The February HCO concert with Ed Daniel was not only very enjoyable musically (with a very complimentary review in the News of Robin Browning’s conducting of the Pastoral Symphony) but also had much better audience numbers than we had previously seen for this season.  This was a great relief to myself and the committee, as it means we finally have some confidence that we will have the financial resources to be able to run our full planned programme of concerts next season.

The “Yeomen of the Guard” concert with Colin Jagger and HSO at Portsmouth Guildhall was also extremely enjoyable musically, with hard work from all concerned (especially the soloists) paying off in an excellent performance.  Unfortunately, in that case the audience numbers were very disappointing, so the ticket income barely covered most of our costs, but everyone involved felt it was worthwhile for the positive experience, and perhaps it may have made some potential new regular audience members aware of the existence of the Havant Symphony Orchestra.

This is the time of year when we put together the plans for next season.  The concert dates and venues are on the back page of this newsletter, and the detailed programme will be announced shortly before the May concert.  Several of our soloists are already well-known to our audiences but have moved up in the world so much that their fees are now only just affordable, and we would very much like some sponsorship to help us cover these costs.  We also plan to end the season with a special concert which we hope many players will particularly enjoy.  If you are willing to offer a contribution of £50 or more towards sponsoring a soloist or some other part of a concert, please contact us and we will let you know more details of the plans and what items are available for sponsorship.

We are also still urgently in need of more help, especially as we plan to have more concerts at Oaklands School next year.  In particular, as our brave new Tickets Secretary, Stuart Annable, is a player in HSO, we need two or three people who are not players to help him at the July concert with handling season ticket orders and selling advance tickets for the Hayling concert, then during next season to sell tickets at the door for the Hayling and Oaklands concerts.

We also need a non-player to take on the important role of Friends’ secretary, which involves collecting and recording Friends’ donations, keeping a list of the current Friends and trying to find more people who are willing to contribute.  In the past, the Friends’ secretary has also arranged fund-raising events and other shared activities, which was very helpful and enterprising but is not a required part of the role.

We could also still use more volunteers to handle distribution of publicity materials (posters, flyers, brochures) in their own areas, or even better someone who could help to coordinate the whole distribution process.

We could use help in many other areas as well, such as writing and submitting press releases and trying to find other ways to increase our audiences.

If you think you might be able to help, please contact us by email or phone as given below.

Right now, we are eagerly looking forward to the current HSO concert with guest conductor Levon Parikian.  Lev is not only a well-known conductor but also the writer of many entertaining articles about conducting (among other subjects) and a very amusing book “Waving, Not Drowning”, copies of which will be for sale at the concert.

Jonathan Scott
Tel: 023 8026 1372

Saturday 29 March's Programme

at Ferneham Hall, Fareham

6.30 Pre-concert talk in the Auditorium by Richard Moore about the concerto
(and maybe Upbeat in the Meon Room)
7.00 Interlude in the Octagon Lounge
7.20 Take your seats in the Auditorium
7.30 The Concert
conducted by Levon Parikian
Overture ‘Hansel & Gretel’Humperdinck
Clarinet Concerto No 2 
Malcolm Arnold
Soloist: Robert Blanken
    Interval – 20 minutes
Symphony No 6, Pathétique Tchaikovsky
9.30 approx End of Concert
We Wish You a Safe Journey Home

Pre-concert Talk

6:30pm in the auditorium

The pre-concert talk will be given by Richard Moore, who will be talking about Malcolm Arnold and his compositions for wind instruments, including the Clarinet Concerto No 2.


6:30pm in the Meon Room

We are hoping to have an Upbeat club meeting in the Meon room at 6:30pm, but we don’t have any details yet.  If we get any details before the day, we will put them on the website.

Pre-Concert Interlude

7:00pm in the Octagon Lounge

Enjoy our pre-concert interlude in the Octagon Lounge.  We don’t yet have details but they will be on the notice board on the day.

Saturday’s conductor in conversation…

Why did you begin conducting?

Growing up in a musical household I was always aware of conductors, but even though I played in orchestras as a timpanist throughout my teenage years I hardly gave a thought to what they did. I did at least take enough notice of them to remember who it was that was waggling at me, but it wasn’t until I arrived at the Royal Academy of Music and started playing in orchestras for the conducting class that I took an interest – as a timpanist I had plenty of time to study them – and began to wonder if it was something I could do. It was fascinating to see how much difference a good conductor made to the sound of the orchestra, and even though it was great sitting at the back and playing one’s own small part in proceedings, the lure of the podium proved irresistible. Encouraged by friends, I organised and conducted some wildly over-ambitious concerts of my own, and started taking lessons from Michael Rose. As well as imparting a huge amount of wisdom, he encouraged me to attend the Canford Summer School, and learn from George Hurst’s inspiring approach to music and conducting. By now the disease had taken a firm grip and, emboldened by the summer courses, I took a year out from my freelance playing career to study in St. Petersburg with the great teacher Ilya Musin. It’s been downhill (or uphill, depending on how you look at it) ever since.

How are the programmes selected for the orchestras which you conduct regularly?

It varies. With some I put together suggestions which then go to committee for discussion, and others have a sub-committee (of which I am a member) which decides things more democratically. In each case we try to find a good balance for players and audience alike, combining the well known with the less familiar. Sometimes there is a theme for concerts, or even a whole season; but successful programmes can also come from just choosing a combination of really good pieces that capture everyone’s imagination.

Have you conducted the works in Saturday’s programme before?

I’m conducting the Tchaikovsky again next week! It’s been fascinating working on the same piece with two orchestras at the same time. There are passages that present problems for one but not the other – and then there are the bits that everyone finds difficult.

The Humperdinck is an old friend that I’ve conducted several times before. It’s always a pleasure, simply because it’s such well written music.

Are any of the items in Saturday’s concert totally new to you?

I knew of the Arnold, but had never conducted it. It’s a delight, like so much of his music. There’s a conciseness about his composition that appeals to me, and this piece combines, in an incredibly short space of time, edginess and angularity, wistful lyricism, and finally the rip-roaring exuberance of ragtime in the last movement.

Had you been to Hampshire before?

Many times, although I must confess that often it’s been on the way to the Isle of Wight, a favourite holiday haunt. I’ve worked with the City of Southampton Orchestra in the past, and as a cricket fan am very keen to make it to the Rose Bowl for either a county or international match one of these days. It’s my first visit to Havant though – thank you for making me feel so welcome!

Thank you Lev - enjoy the concert!

CDs for this concert

Sourced by Gordon Egerton (Clarinet)

Humperdinck -
Overture 'Hansel and Gretel'

Halle Orchestra, Sir John Barbirolli
(mixed concert entitled 'Halle Favourites, Volume 3').
Barbirolli Society SJB 1023 £10.75.

Arnold - Clarinet Concerto no.2
Michael Collins (clarinet and conductor),
BBC Symphony Orchestra
(c/w Finzi and Stanford Clarinet Concertos).
Chandos CHAN 10739 £12.75.

Tchaikovsky - Symphony no.6
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons
(c/w Fantasy overture 'Romeo and Juliet').
Orfeo C 832101A £12.75.

Saturday 17th May 2014, 7.30pm

at Ferneham Hall, Fareham

Havant Chamber Orchestra

Leader: Cathy Mathews
Conductor: Robin Browning

Overture Egmont             Beethoven
Trumpet Concerto              Hummel
Soloist: Jon Yates
Symphony No 3, Scottish  Mendelssohn

Tickets  £20.00; £17.50; £14.00; £8.00
Students half price / Under 19s £1.00
from Ferneham Hall Box Office
01329 231942

Next season’s dates

Last season we were asked if we could have more concerts at Oaklands School in Waterlooville, which is more local to the Havant area, has more space for larger numbers of players and has helpfully warm acoustics (although it creates more work for the society, for example in handling ticket sales and refreshments).  We are grateful to Oaklands School for making this change practical, so all of next season’s HSO concerts will be at Oaklands, while HCO remains at Ferneham Hall.  Separate season tickets will be available for the three concerts at each venue.

The dates and venues are as follows (all Saturdays):

HSO 20th Sep 2014        Hayling Island CC
HCO 18th Oct 2014           Ferneham Hall
HSO   6th Dec 2014         Oaklands School
HCO   7th Feb 2015        Ferneham Hall
HSO 28th Mar 2015        Oaklands School
HCO 16th May 2015          Ferneham Hall
HSO 11th Jul 2015         Oaklands School

The detailed concert programme and soloists will be announced shortly before the May HCO concert, along with more details of the season ticket scheme and how to order tickets.

Other Musical Events

compiled by Geoff Porter

Thursday 3 April at 7.30pm
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Portsmouth Guildhall
Mozart Piano Concerto No. 27,
Bruckner Symphony No. 9.
Conductor: Kirill Karabits.

Thursday 3 April at 7.30pm
The Grenestede Duo (Ivor Humphreys and Hilary Needham)
Horndean Music Society
Blendworth Church Centre, Horndean

Saturday 5 April at 7.30pm
Portsmouth Choral Union
St. Mary’s Church, Portsmouth
Handel Zadok the Priest,
Patterson The Fifth Continent.

Saturday 5 April at 7.30pm
Portsmouth Festival Choir
Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral
Brahms Liebeslieder Waltzes
and German Requiem.
Conductor Peter Allwood.

Saturday 12 April at 7.30pm
David Angel, violin & David Elwin, piano
Portsmouth Music Club
The Rotunda, Portsmouth Grammar School, High Street, Old Portsmouth.

Saturday 26 April at 7.00pm
Portsmouth Baroque Choir
St. Paul’s Church, Chichester
Handel Messiah
Consort of Twelve; Sian Bibby-Hsia, Toby Foster, Adrian Green & Ian Caddy.

Thursday 1st May at 7.30pm
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Portsmouth Guildhall
Mozart Symphony No. 40,
Schumann Cello Concerto,
Mendelssohn A Midsummer Night’s Dream Suite.
Conductor: Kirill Karabits.

Society contact information can be found on the Contacts page within this web site.

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