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Ferneham Hall,

Programme Notes

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Saturday 11th February 2012   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

Truffaldino – a Ballet for Chamber Orchestra
Simon Wills  born 1957

Truffaldino is named after the Harlequin character in Goldoni’s 1743 farce Il Servitore di Due Padroni.  I wrote the piece in the gap between the completion of an opera and the start of work on another.  Not surprisingly, I approached it as though writing for the stage: it is episodic but like all my theatre pieces is held together by a loose symphonic structure.  No attempt is made to tell Goldoni’s complicated story but I hope some of his subversive spirit has found its way into the music.

It was written at my Ferrara hideout – more precisely at a corner table in the bar round the corner – in the Summer of 2011; the fanfare that opens and closes the piece is an obscene mocking song that has been sung to newly qualified doctors at the city’s university for centuries and I think the piece has a Ferrarese swagger to it.

Happy birthday HSO!

Simon Wills

Horn Concerto No 1 in Eb, Opus 11
Richard Strauss  1864 – 1949

The fact that Strauss enjoyed a remarkably long creative life is probably best illustrated by reference to his two horn concertos, composed in 1883 and 1942, practically 60 years apart.  His father, Franz, was one of the finest horn players of his day and held the position of principal in the Munich Opera Orchestra for many years.  The young Richard must therefore have grown up with an increasing awareness of the instrument’s capabilities.  His Horn Concerto No 1 displays a brilliant understanding of both the technical and the poetic aspects of the horn, of its fanfare-like hunting calls and its soft ringing tone.  Furthermore, it is perhaps the first masterpiece Strauss composed.

The work adopts the usual three movement structure, though they are performed without a break …

Terry Barfoot

Symphony No 3 in Eb, Opus 55, Eroica
Ludwig van Beethoven  1770 – 1827

Although in his Second Symphony Beethoven had begun to move beyond the traditional concept of the classical symphony, his Eroica remains a staggering achievement, taking the genre into hitherto uncharted regions.  Here, in 1803, we have a symphony which in performance lasts almost 50 minutes, a symphony whose first movement alone is as long as many symphonies in their entirety.  Yet nothing about the Eroica is inflated or grandiose; on the contrary, the work is a model of economy and precision.  The orchestra is only enlarged by the addition of an extra horn; it is therefore the size and scale of the symphonic concept which are expanded, but in purely musical terms.  The logical and emotional power of the music carries the listener along, and to achieve his aim Beethoven employs numerous characteristic devices.  There are often off-beat accents to reinforce dissonant harmonies and to produce, in the first movement especially, the most tremendous symphonic tension; and it is from this great sense of emotional strength that the sheer scale of the composition derives.

Such a composition could have been created only by a truly great figure …

Terry Barfoot

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