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Newsletter for October 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.

Welcome to the 2014-15 season of the Havant Orchestras! 
Join us at Ferneham Hall for the start of HCO’s 50th anniversary season.

From the Chairman …

Welcome to our new season!

At our AGM in September, we passed on the excellent news that the society’s financial situation had greatly improved by the end of last season.  A large part of this was admittedly due to one-off contributions from a major HCC grant (helping to balance our costs for the first part of the season) and some very generous individual donations, but we also made useful savings elsewhere on recurring costs, for example on the design and printing of our brochures and programme booklets.

Even with significant savings, our typical income for recent years was far short of the amount needed to cover our high player costs for HSO, so we had taken the difficult decision to return HSO to purely amateur status, with no fees for regular players.  Our first concert on this new basis, with Karen Kingsley in July, was well attended and was the first main concert for many years which provided the society with significant income.  We hope that this success will continue, although we are sad that a few of our long-established player friends have decided to leave HSO as a result of these changes.

I was pleased to announce at the AGM that the Bob Harding Bursary for Young Conductors has been awarded to Ignatius (Iggy) Wang, nominated by the Royal Marines School of Music (who were invited to nominate a candidate as fewer of the London colleges run eligible courses than in previous years).  HSO are already enjoying working with Iggy on the Borodin Polovtsian Dances which he will conduct in the December concert.

At the AGM, the committee awarded the position of Honorary Vice President to David and Alison Goodall, for their help and support at concerts over many years, even when it involved travelling from Coventry, and to Gunther Oestreich, who has stepped down from the office of Honorary Secretary after 17 years but continues to serve as a committee member.  We are very grateful to Pat Thompson for taking on the HonorarySecretary role.

The committee also recorded its appreciation of the excellent work done by Maggie Packe, our former Tickets Secretary (and already an honorary vice president) who handed over the role to Stuart Annable during the last season.

Although the financial situation is much less precarious than it was last season, the society is still urgently in need of more help.  The society used to have an extensive network of contacts and helpers maintained largely by personal connections, especially through the Friends of the Society, who also make a significant financial contribution, but at present we do not even have a Friends’ Secretary to coordinate this support.  We are very keen to find someone (probably a season ticket holder) willing to act as contact point for the Friends and to coordinate financial contributions and offers of help.  In the past the Friends’ Secretary has also helpfully arranged fund-raising events and other activities for the Friends, but this is not a required part of the role so don’t let it put you off!

The committee also need regular help with arranging pre-concert speakers and pre-concert music, and we would also like to continue our Upbeat Club for children.  We need helpers who have good contacts within the educational community, especially music teachers.  We ideally need someone with the right connections and level of responsibility to take on this task as a regular commitment.

We enjoyed our pre-season “Popular Classics” HSO concert in September at Hayling Island Community Centre, conducted by Colin Jagger, with violin soloist Fenella Humphreys providing a memorable performance of Bruch’s Violin Concerto No 1.  Unlike last year, we still had plenty of empty seats in the hall, probably because our local press release got lost somewhere in transit and we didn’t have enough alternative advertising, although a local choral concert the same night may also have impacted our audience numbers.  The Hayling concert still raised useful funds for the society, helped by a further moderate increase in ticket prices as suggested by audience members at last year’s concert.

We start the season proper with Havant Chamber Orchestra’s first concert of their 50th anniversary season, and we are looking forward to being joined by local soloist Philip Handy for the Schumann cello concerto, which he will be discussing in the pre-concert talk.

This concert opens with our first “lesser-known” work of the new season, by William Mathias.  HSO has previously enjoyed playing other works by Mathias, and when we were looking for unusual works with suitable instrumentation for HCO to perform, his Dance Variations Op 72 matched perfectly, although the score appears to be more challenging for the player and listener than many of our other recent “lesser-known” works.

If you find such novelty unsettling, rest assured that the remainder of the concert – Schumann and Beethoven – stays on reassuringly familiar ground!

Jonathan Scott
Tel: 023 8026 1372

Saturday 18 October’s Programme

at Ferneham Hall, Fareham

6.30 Pre-concert talk in the Auditorium:
Philip Handy will be talking about the Schumann cello concerto
(but probably no Upbeat in the Meon Room)
7.00 Interlude in the Octagon Lounge
(not confirmed at time of writing)
7.20 Take your seats in the Auditorium
7.30 The Concert
conducted by Robin Browning
Dance VariationsWilliam Mathias
Cello Concerto in A minor 
Soloist: Philip Handy
    Interval – 20 minutes
Symphony No 2 in D Beethoven
9.30 approx End of Concert
We wish you a safe journey home.

Pre-concert Talk

6:30pm in the auditorium

Our regular pre-concert talks provide background information relating to one or more of the works being performed.  For this concert, our soloist Philip Handy will be talking about the Schumann cello concerto.


6:30pm in the Meon Room

We’re sorry to say that our regular Upbeat leader is still unavailable on this occasion, so there will probably not be any Upbeat club meeting before the concert. 

Pre-Concert Interlude

7:00pm 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…

It’s the start of a new season – at least in the orchestral world!  In terms of weather, and my garden, it still feels positively summery as I write – my roses are certainly confused.  One called Benjamin Britten has just bloomed, for the third time this year.  But a new concert season is upon us, and I'm very excited about the forthcoming series of concerts with Havant Chamber Orchestra throughout the year.

Beethoven is, of course, the bedrock of chamber orchestra repertoire.  Haydn, Mozart, and Schubert (to name but three) are all vital for the spirit of the ensemble, not to mention more modern music too, but Beethoven and his symphonies always remain centre stage.  After last season's triumph with the famous "Pastoral", we begin afresh this autumn with his 2nd symphony – not so familiar.  But it's always one of my favourites.  Opening with a relatively long Adagio introduction – complex and filled with passion – the whole opening movement is a fabulous demonstration of Beethoven’s early mastery of sonata form.  Two lighter central movements lead to a breathtakingly quicksilver finale – involving Beethoven at his most humorous.

I remember, too, many long masterclasses working on this symphony as a student conductor.  It’s a favourite amongst conducting teachers, it seems: there’s a huge amount one can learn from every craggy contour of the opening Adagio alone.

We open with William Mathias’ “Dance Variations” – a versatile, virtuosic traversal of many dance forms and styles.  This is a first for me: I’ve never conducted a note of Mathias until now.  In a former lifetime, I sang quite a lot of his work and loved it.  I’m looking forward to delving into this world, too.

Another first will be accompanying Philip Handy – about whom I’ve heard much, but not hitherto met nor worked with.  The Schumann concerto is a masterpiece – very much an autumnal work, in many senses, almost as much as the eternal Elgar.  I love conducting it.  Schumann is, to me, a taste one develops slightly slower than others, perhaps – like fine wine – but one which resonates deeply inside the soul.

I hope you enjoy all three pieces, and look forward to welcoming you throughout the season!

Robin Browning

CDs for this concert

Sourced by Gordon Egerton (Clarinet)

Schumann – Cello Concerto Jacqueline du Pre, New Philharmonia Orchestra, Daniel Barenboim
(c/w Dvorak Cello Concerto).
EMI Great Recordings of the Century 5628032 £7.75

Beethoven – Symphony no.2
London Symphony Orchestra, Bernard Haitink (c/w Symphony no.6).
LSO Live LSO 0582 £8.75

(We do not know of any CD recording of the William Mathias Dance Variations).

Spencer Music Festival

Chamber music concerts (with Edward Daniel, violin)
in Shedfield, Wickham and Bishop’s Waltham:

Saturday 25th October 2014, 7.00pm
St John the Baptist Church, Shedfield

Friday 31st October 2014, 7.00pm
St Nicolas Church, Wickham

Saturday 1st November, 7.00pm
St Peter’s Church, Bishop’s Waltham

Sunday 2nd November, 11.30am
‘Coffee Concert’ at Spencer Place, Sandy Lane, Shedfield

Saturday 6th December 2014, 7.30pm
at Oaklands School, Waterlooville

Havant Symphony Orchestra

Leader: Cathy Mathews
Conductor: Jonathan Butcher

Polovtsian Dances from ‘Prince Igor’ Borodin
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Rachmaninov
Soloist: Viv McLean
Symphonic Suite ‘Scheherazade’Rimsky-Korsakov

Other Musical Events

compiled by Geoff Porter

Thursday 23rd October 2014, 7.30pm
Stansted House, Rowland’s Castle:
The Anemos Wind Quintet
Tel: 02392 412265.

Saturday 25th October 2014, 7.30pm
St. James Church, Emsworth:
The Solent Male Voice Choir
in aid of St. Wilfrid’s and The Rowans Hospices

Monday 27th October 2014, 7.30pm
The Harlequin Room,
Portsmouth Guildhall:
Ensemble 360

Thursday 30th October 2014, 7.30pm;
Saturday 1st November 2014, 5.30pm;
Sunday 2nd November 2014, 2.30 pm 
Haslemere Hall, Haslemere:
Opera South: La traviata

Friday 14th November 2014, 7.30pm
Portsmouth Guildhall:
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra:
Borodin, Shostakovich & Tchaikovsky

Saturday 15th November 2014, 7.30pm
Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral:
Portsmouth Festival Choir
“To Commemorate the First World War”:
Bawtree, Finzi, Elgar & Parry

Saturday 22nd November 2014, 7.30pm
St. Mary’s Church, Portsmouth:
Portsmouth Choral Union:
Paukenmesse – Haydn;
The Armed Man – Karl Jenkins

Monday 1st December 2014, 7.30pm
The Harlequin Room,
Portsmouth Guildhall:
La Serenissima

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

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