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.
The Havant OrchestrasPresident: The Rt Hon The Lord Willetts, PC   Patrons: The Mayor of Havant; The Mayor of Fareham
March 2016 Newsletterwww.havantorchestras.org.uk
From the Chairman …
I’m pleased to report that our musical directors have nearly completed the planning of our exciting concert programme schedule for next season, with just a few final details to be resolved. We hope to be able to announce the full details in May as usual, complete with brochures, but to help with forward planning we will be making some of the programme information available earlier to current players and potential players. The provisional concert and rehearsal dates are already shown on the “Future Dates” page of our website, within the public part of the Members section.
Although HSO is now in its second season back at Oaklands Catholic School, we are still trying to find ways to make things run more smoothly. One limitation at present is that the only public areas are the main hall and the corridor, so there is no place equivalent to Ferneham Hall’s Octagon Lounge for relaxing and listening to young pupils playing music before the main concert, allowing people to come and go as they please. We have tried having pre-concert music in the main hall, immediately after the pre-concert talk, but although it was appreciated, it did not seem as relaxed and informal as at Ferneham Hall, and the players could not get ready to play while the talk was in progress. We have therefore not arranged any further pre-concert music at Oaklands while we consider alternatives, but we plan to continue to provide pre-concert music as usual for HCO concerts at Ferneham Hall.
For this newsletter we have “Notes” from both conductors, which I think is a first! In addition to the notes from HSO musical director Jonathan Butcher, who has again selected an interesting programme of excellent works, we have some insights from our bursary conductor Joseph Beckhelling who will be conducting the Saint-Saëns violin concerto, with talented young soloist Joo Yeon Sir.
The early Easter means that there are many other musical events packed into the same weekend as our concert, but we hope you will join us for what promises to be a very enjoyable event!
Saturday 19th March’s Programme
at Oaklands School, Waterlooville
|6.30||Pre-concert talk in the auditorium by Joseph Beckhelling|
|7.20||Take your seats in the main hall|
conducted by Jonathan Butcher and Joseph Beckhelling*.
|9.30 (approx)||End of Concert|
|We wish you a safe journey home.|
Pre-concert Talk at 6:30pm in the auditorium
Our bursary student conductor Joseph Beckhelling will be talking about the music, in particular the Saint-Saëns Violin Concerto.
We recommend taking seats at or near the front so that you can easily hear the speaker and musical excerpts. If you miss the start, please feel free to join the talk anyway but enter as quietly as you can.
Notes from the conductor…1
I have to admit that I became acquainted with Schumann’s terrific Manfred Overture almost by chance – some years ago. We conductors not only have to prepare, rehearse and conduct concerts but one of our other tasks is to choose much of the repertoire to be played. That entails a number of things – one being that the musicians performing don’t sit around for too long doing nothing and this is particularly relevant with an orchestra that makes music for a hobby. So, in the case of the Schumann I needed a dramatic Overture, which it certainly is, that lasted a particular length and didn’t use too many extraneous instruments. When I came across the Manfred Overture in a catalogue it fitted perfectly – well almost – there’s actually one instrument only used in the Overture. Can you spot which? I’ve loved the piece ever since.
As I say – it’s a dramatic, rather brooding work based on the poem, of the same name, by Lord Byron. Its colours are, understandably, typically Schumann and I think it is one of those piece which holds one’s concentration. Many don’t! The first bar of the piece is a particularly unusual and arresting opening and the Overture, in general, takes the listener on quite an emotional and turbulent journey, ’though there appears to be some peace in the final bars?
Valse Triste is a curious little piece – a slow waltz – that became a smash hit! It started life as part of some incidental music to a play, written by Sibelius’ brother-in-law, but it soon took on a life of its own. There is quite a story behind it, when it is used within in the play, which I suspect will be revealed in the concert’s programme notes. Suffice it to say its haunting qualities depict the scene wonderfully well.
Dvořák – is quite simply one of my favourite composers and if I had to choose my Desert Islands discs, which (would you believe it) has just started on Radio 4 as I type, Dvořák's 7th Symphony would most definitely be included in my choice of records.
We own a great debt to the Philharmonic Society of London for not only electing Dvořák as an Honorary member in 1884 but, as a consequence, also commissioning him to write a symphony, which became this Symphony and an undoubted masterpiece. There is – and most would agree - not a bad bar in it and the work’s inventiveness is extraordinary. There are all the usual Dvořák hallmarks you would expect but used to perfection. Tunes abound and infectious Czech rhythms just pour from his pen. The slow movement is truly one of the best ever written. I hope you are able to immerse yourself in this glorious work. We’ve certainly enjoyed rehearsing it!
Notes from the conductor…2
Following on from a splendid first concert of the season, I’m excited by the opportunity to conduct Saint-Saëns’ 3rd, and final, Violin Concerto in B-Minor. With the brilliant soloist Joo Yeon Sir joining us, it certainly promises to be a magnificent occasion.
The Concerto itself explores a variety of sound-worlds. It begins with soft, quivering strings and a rumbling timpani, over which the violin introduces the appassionato, almost aggressive, first theme. From there we move to the serene calm and warmth of the second movement, which ends with an unusual but highly effective relationship between the 1st Clarinet and Solo Violin. Whilst the Violin plays an arpeggiated figure in harmonics, the Clarinet plays the same material in a lower octave. This unfamiliar sonority was fairly astonishing when the piece premiered in 1881 and still is today. The finale begins with a short, explosive cadenza before the introduction of the formidable main subject. The piece ends in B-Major, with an emphatic, brass-led closing theme propelling the piece to its fiery climax.
I look forward to sharing the experience of this highly dramatic, beautiful and tempestuous piece with you at this concert. See you then!
CD recommendations for the works in this concert
Sourced by Gordon Egerton (Clarinet)
Schumann - Overture 'Manfred'
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Rafael Kubelik
(c/w Symphonies nos, 1 - 4 and overture 'Genoveva').
DG Originals 4778621 (2 discs), £11.50.
Sibelius - Valse Triste
Boston Symphony Orchestra, Sir Colin Davis
(c/w Pohjola's Daughter, Karelia Suite, En Saga, and Tapiola).
Australian Eloquence ELQ 4762817 £7.75.
Saint-Saens - Violin Concerto No.3
Jean-Jacques Kantorow, Tapiola Sinfonietta, J.J. Kantorow
(c/w other works including Wedding-cake caprice
and Allegro appassionato for piano and orchestra).
BIS BISCD 1470 £11.75.
Dvořák - Symphony No.7
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Marin Alsop
(c/w Symphony no.8).
Naxos 8572112 £6.25
(Prices quoted are from the Presto Classical website).
by local orchestras
Sunday 20th March 2016, 7:30pm
New Hall, Winchester College
Winchester Symphony Orchestra
Weber, Schumann, Elgar
Sunday 20th March 2016, 7:30pm
The Anvil, Basingstoke
Basingstoke Symphony Orchestra
Sibelius, Chopin, Brahms
Saturday 23rd April 2016, 7:30pm
Hanger Farm Arts Centre, Totton
Per Piacere Chamber Orchestra
Warlock, Haydn, Sibelius, Beethoven
Sunday 24th April 2016, 3:00pm
Christ Church Freemantle, Southampton
Beethoven, Schubert, Sibelius
Other musical events
compiled by Geoff Porter
Saturday 9th April, 7:30pm
Portsmouth Music Club
‘An Evening with Mr Pepys’.
Thursday 14th April, 7:30pm
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5 ‘Emperor’
with Simon Trpceski, piano
Shostakovich Symphony No. 10
with Andrew Litton, conductor.
Saturday 23rd April, 7:30pm
Portsmouth Music Club
Fraser Tannock, trumpet and
Terence Allbright, piano.
Monday 25th April, 7:30pm
Haydn Trio in C XV/27,
Martinu Piano Trio No. 3 in C and
Dvořák Piano Trio No. 3 in E minor 'Dumky'.
Thursday 28th April, 7:30pm
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Richard Strauss Don Juan,
Sibelius Violin Concerto
with Augustin Hadelich, violin
Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4
with Thomas Dausgaard, conductor.