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Newsletter for November 2013

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.

We welcome guest conductor Jonathan Butcher who
is joining us for the first HSO concert of this season.

From the Chairman …

It is not unusual for a conductor to suggest a soloist (which is how we found the brilliant David Le Page to replace an unavailable soloist in July).  For this concert, it happened the other way round, in that returning soloist Alexander Sitkovetsky suggested that as he was already working with Jonathan Butcher on other concerts, he would like to suggest Jonathan as the conductor for our November concert.

Jonathan Butcher was already known to some of our players from his work with the Isle of Wight Symphony Orchestra, and they strongly recommended that we take up this suggestion, especially as he has also expressed an interest in the currently vacant position of regular conductor and musical director of the Havant Symphony Orchestra.

The HSO players are enjoying working with him for this concert, and we hope that he will be able to conduct us again in the future.

The programme opens with a selection from the variety box of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” Suite.  This suite is totally delightful to hear and play, but not quite so delightful for the society finances and orchestral rehearsal arrangements, because it requires several unusual instruments in addition to our regular players, which means we have had to bring in a few extra players for the concert.  It just wouldn’t be “Nutcracker” without the tinkling of the “Sugar Plum Fairy”, so I am bringing along my celesta (using modern digital technology) to help sustain the magic.

Alexander Sitkovetsky has previously performed twice before with the Havant Orchestras, the last time being a year ago in a memorable performance of the Brahms Double Concerto with Richard Harwood at Oaklands School.  We are now welcoming him back to play Lalo’s “Symphonie Espagnole”, which despite its name is not a symphony but rather a violin concerto, written for the famous Spanish violinist Pablo de Sarasate, with five contrasting movements based on sunny Spanish rhythms and tunes.

After the interval, in stark contrast to the Lalo, the first symphony of Sibelius seems to evoke dramatic images of the chilly winters in his homeland, Finland, although it also contains warm passionate melodies and an energetic and robustly rhythmic scherzo.  The supportive acoustics of the Oaklands hall should help to make the most of the rich orchestral textures.

This is the only main concert this season where the Havant Orchestras are performing within their home borough of Havant.  We are delighted to welcome the Mayor and Mayoress of Havant to this concert, and hope that our regular audience and players will encourage their friends and neighbours to come along and enjoy the concert.

Jonathan Scott
Tel: 023 8026 1372

Saturday 30 November's Programme

at Oaklands School, Waterlooville

6.30 Pre-concert talk in the Auditorium by Terry Barfoot about the Sibelius
(There is no Upbeat meeting at Oaklands)
7.00 Interlude in the Auditorium
7.20 Take your seats in the Auditorium
7.30 The Concert
conducted by Jonathan Butcher
Selection from Nutcracker Suite Tchaikovsky
Symphonie Espagnole 
Soloist: Alexander Sitkovetsky
    Interval – 20 minutes
Symphony No 1 in E minor Sibelius
9.30 approx End of Concert
We Wish You a Safe Journey Home

Pre-concert Talk at 6:30pm

Terry Barfoot will talk about the Sibelius Symphony in the main hall at 6:30pm.


Sorry, but we do not have the space or resources for an Upbeat Club meeting at Oaklands School, so the next meeting will be at the February HCO concert.

Pre-Concert Interlude at 7:00pm

Enjoy our pre-concert music, in the main hall at 7:00pm, with the Oaklands School string orchestra directed by Becky Hill.

Thoughts from the podium…

Firstly I must say how genuinely delighted I am to be conducting the HSO at the first concert of their 2013/2014 season. The programme is a very attractive one and I have conducted all three works before on several occasions, but most notably the Lalo, which I performed only about a month ago with the same brilliant soloist, Alexander Sitkovetsky – Sasha.  The Lalo is beautiful yet unusual, as a solo work, in that it consists of five movements.  All are as absorbing as each other and, I suppose, they would come under the heading of 'easy listening'.  There is much dance influence in the piece and I suspect foot tapping will be hard to resist!

How did I get started on the conducting ladder?  Well, it was quite simple really.  It was a sort of ‘needs must’ situation, where a teacher at my school left after having set up a brass ensemble and in those days I was involved playing the trumpet. With no teacher around to direct the group I stepped in and before I knew it I had been bitten by the conducting bug. I then went on to conduct larger groups and eventually an early one act opera by Mozart, Bastien and Bastienne, in my parent's garden – don’t ask – and then eventually orchestras.  As far as I remember the first proper concert I conducted included the Britten Piano Concerto and Dvořák's New World Symphony.  At aged 18 I seem to have been somewhat fearless, if not a little fool hardy!

I am a Surrey ‘boy,’ although I am no stranger to Hampshire, having been the Director of Music at a now flourishing prep School in Liphook in my early twenties.  Years later I conducted the City of Southampton Orchestra for a number of years, giving numerous exciting concerts in the City’s Guildhall etc.  Nowadays, apart from travelling down by train to the HSO rehearsals, I frequently travel through Hampshire on my way to the Isle of Wight to conduct their Symphony Orchestra, but that, of course, involves crossing water as well.

I am so looking forward to the concert, as I hope you are.  This programme works extremely well with its look forward to the Christmas season, with movements from Tchaikovsky’s ever-popular Nutcracker Suite, a concerto work rich in melody that is captivating from its first bar and concluding with the groundbreaking first symphony by Sibelius – surely a masterpiece in anyone’s book.  I do hope we will see you there.  I know that if I were not conducting I would most definitely be in the audience!  Please don’t miss it – the HSO are a splendid ‘band’.

Jonathan Butcher

CDs for this concert

Sourced by Gordon Egerton (Clarinet)

Tchaikovsky - Nutcracker Suite
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,
Mstislav Rostropovich
(c/w Sleeping Beauty & Swan Lake suites).
DG 4497262 (£8.50)

Lalo - Symphonie Espagnole
Arthur Grumiaux,
Orchestre des Concerts Lamoureux,
Manuel Rosenthal
(c/w Chausson Poeme, Ravel Tzigane, and
Saint-Saens Introduction and Rondo
Capriccioso and Havanaise).
Australian Eloquence ELQ4625792 (£7.75)

Sibelius - Symphony no.1
Iceland Symphony Orchestra,
Petri Sakari
(c/w Symphony no.3).
Naxos 8.554102 (£6.25)


We have a volunteer to take over a large part of Margaret Packe’s job as Tickets Secretary (thanks, Stuart).

We are also grateful to Becky Hill for helping to arrange pre-concert music and Upbeat activities while we search for a replacement Upbeat Leader and Education Liaison.

We have been otherwise somewhat “underwhelmed” by offers of help.  In addition to Becky’s roles, we urgently need help with Publicity Support, for example helping to distribute posters to local libraries and information centres.

Please get in touch if you can help!

Stella Scott
Tel: 023 8026 1372

Actions for the future

Following a meeting with HSO players in October, the committee have decided that the most effective way to make a significant improvement to the financial situation is to reinstate the existing policy that players in HSO should not be paid, apart from a professional leader and, where necessary, professional players for unusual instruments such as a harp for the concert day.

Exceptions to the policy were originally made for a few individuals, but in recent years this has reached the point where almost every main HSO concert makes a significant loss simply because of player costs.  Although we value the skills of these players, we simply cannot afford to continue to pay them.  We hope that many of our existing experienced players will be able to continue work with us without payment.  Where this is not possible, we would appreciate their help in finding talented amateur players interested in playing with HSO on a regular basis.

For now, there is no change to our policy for paying players for HCO, but it is not yet clear whether the HSO change will be sufficient to allow the society to remain viable, so this is unfortunately in no way guaranteed in the longer term.

Jonathan Scott
Tel: 023 8026 1372


Thank you to the people who responded to our feedback questions in the previous newsletter, either via email or at the concert.  There seemed to be general consensus on both topics among those who responded.

  1. The principle of usually including lesser-known works is widely appreciated and we should definitely try to continue with it in future, but it should not take priority over other practical considerations such as costs, difficulty and coherence within a programme.

  2. Ferneham Hall is mostly very convenient and comfortable for the audience as well as the society (although there are concerns about the accessibility of the steeply raked seating).  However, the poor acoustics are a major concern to players and audience alike.

We appreciate the feedback, which we will take into account in our future planning.  If you have any further comments or suggestions, please feel free to contact us.

Jonathan Scott
Tel: 023 8026 1372

Saturday 8th February 2014, 7.30pm

At Ferneham Hall, Fareham
Havant Chamber Orchestra
Leader: Brian Howells
Conductor: Robin Browning

Overture CoriolanBeethoven
Violin Concerto in E minor – Mendelssohn
Soloist: Edward Daniel
Symphony No 6, PastoralBeethoven

Tickets  £20.00; £17.50; £14.00; £8.00
Students half price / Under 19s £1.00
from Ferneham Hall Box Office
01329 231942

Other Musical Events

Thursday 5th December at 7.30 pm.
£7 at The Blendworth Centre,
Blendworth Lane, Horndean PO8 4AA:
Candida Bowtell – harpist.
Promoted by The Horndean Music Societry.

Thursday 5th December at 7.30 pm.
£15 at The Assembly Room,
North Street, Chichester:
Florilegium -
‘Corelli and the Italian Connection’

Thursday 5th December at 7.30 pm.
at The Guildhall, Portsmouth:
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra –
‘Pranks & Penitence’
R. Strauss: Till Eulenspiegel;
Hindemith: Mathis der Mahler Symphony;
Beethoven: Violin Concerto.
Yan Pascal Tortelier, conductor
and Augustin Hadelich, violin.
£15 - £25, concs available.

Saturday 7th December 7.30 pm.
at St. Paul’s Church, Chichester:
Chichester Symphony Orchestra:
MacCunn – Overture ‘The Land of the
Mountain and the Flood’,
Anderson – Sleigh Ride,
Prokofiev – Sleigh Ride,
Coleridge-Taylor – Christmas Overture,
Mendelssohn –  ‘Scottish’ Symphony

Sunday 8th December at 7.30 pm.
at St. Joseph’s Church, 134 West Street,
Havant, PO9 1LP:
The University of Chichester Chamber Orchestra and Choir:
Bach, Locatelli and Handel. £10 & £5 concs.

Thursday 2nd January at 7.30 pm.
£7 at The Blendworth Church Centre,
Blendworth Lane, Horndean PO8 4AA:
Sullivan – The Contrabandista.
A costumed, concert version with dialogue
promoted by The Horndean Music Society.

Thursday 16th January at 7.30 pm.
£15 at The Assembly Room,
North Street, Chichester:
Jacquin Trio (clarinet, viola & piano).
Mozart, Huw Watkins, Bruch, Julius Rontgen & Reinecke.

Saturday 18th January 7.30 pm.
at Chichester Cathedral,
Chichester Singers:
Faure Requiem, Christmas Oratorio,
Saint Saens and Debussy.

Thursday 23rd January 7.30 pm.
at The Guildhall, Portsmouth:
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
‘A Taste of Spain’.
De Falla, Turina, Rodrigo & Tchaikovsky.
Pablo Gonzalez, conductor
and Xuefei Yang, guitar.
£15 - £25, concs available.

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

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