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Oaklands Catholic School,

Programme Notes

Saturday 3rd December 2011   7.30
Here is a brief introduction to each work in the concert, consisting of an extract from the programme notes in the Havant Orchestras Programme book for the 2011-12 season, which is available in the foyer at concerts for £3

Overture: Beatrice and Benedict
Hector Berlioz  1803 – 1869

This overture is based on two themes from the comic opera ‘Beatrice and Benedict’ which was commissioned by the Baden-Baden Opera in 1860, first performed two years later and turned out to be the last work of Berlioz.  The idea of an opera based on Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado about Nothing’ was not new to Berlioz.  Twenty-five years earlier he had sketched a libretto when it seemed likely that the venture might be acceptable to the authorities in Paris.  However, nothing came of it, but some musical fragments were saved for later. 

The overture begins impetuously with a gay dance-like tune in triple time …

Peter Craddock

Piano Concerto No 5 in E flat, Opus 73, Emperor
Ludwig van Beethoven  1770 – 1827

While the nickname ‘Emperor’ is thoroughly appropriate to this grand concerto, it was not Beethoven’s own, for it was conceived by the publisher, composer and piano-maker Johann Cramer.  The music was composed from 1809 and the first performance took place in Vienna in November 1811, when the pianist was Friedrich Schneider and not Beethoven himself, as had been the case in each of the four previous piano concertos.  The reason was the composer’s deafness, which by this time was so acute that he could no longer perform in public.  Thereafter he wrote no more concertos, although he continued to compose in all the other important genres save opera. 

The first movement is constructed on the grand scale, and in fact is longer than the other movements combined …

Terry Barfoot

Symphony No 2 in D, Opus 43
Jean Sibelius  1865 – 1957

In 1901 a wealthy aristocrat, Baron Axel Carpelan, provided funds to enable Sibelius to devote himself wholly to creative work for up to a year and that autumn the composer set off with his family to stay in Italy where he planned to write a new symphony.  Progress proved rapid and by the time Sibelius returned to Finland his 2nd Symphony was complete, the Helsinki Orchestra giving the first performance in March 1902.  The nationalist overtones, which are so implicit in the finale’s romantic triumph, ensured an immediate success and this was soon mirrored elsewhere particularly in England and Germany. 

The Symphony is a work of the utmost mastery, ingeniously adapting the classical four-movement design …

Terry Barfoot

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