Hansel and Gretel, a well-loved fairy tale by the Grimm Brothers, was made into an
opera by 19th Century German composer Engelbert Humperdinck in 1891 and 1892.
It was first performed in Weimar in 1893, conducted by the 29 year old Richard
Strauss, an instant hit which became an enduring favourite. The Overture is full of
delightful folk tunes for everyone to enjoy.
A love of jazz was the inspiration for both of Malcolm Arnold’s clarinet concerti. The
Northampton-born Arnold was a trumpeter himself but wrote brilliantly for all wind
instruments. The Clarinet Concerto No 2 was commissioned in 1974 by Benny
Goodman, who had previously premiered Arnold’s first clarinet concerto in 1967. Our
brilliant principal clarinettist, Rob Blanken, is sure to entertain in this twentieth century
We then return to 1893, the year in which Tchaikovsky completed his last great work,
the sixth Symphony, known as the Pathétique. The symphony is full of passion and
emotion, and its dark mood acquired even greater significance when the composer
died just nine days after its premiere. Fate, life and death were recurring themes for
Tchaikovsky and were never more present than in this final symphonic offering.