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Ferneham Hall,

Programme Notes

Saturday 7th July 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

Overture: The Siege of Corinth
Gioachino Rossini  1792 – 1868

The opera The Siege of Corinth, produced in Paris in 1826, was actually a re-working of an earlier Neapolitan opera seria Maometta II, specially adapted for the French stage in the hope of gaining Rossini a foothold in that country’s craving for music drama.  The story concerns the siege of the Greeks by the Turks in 1459 and offers the composer scope for militaristic drama and high excitement.  He draws on a large orchestra which in its original version included four bassoons, three trombones plus ophicleide (tuba) and martial percussion in addition to a late-classical-sized main orchestra.

Its overture begins with assertive masculine tuttis alternating with quiet pizzicato echoes.  …

Peter Craddock

Old Norwegian Romance, Opus 51
Edvard Grieg  1843 – 1907

There are many works in Grieg’s output that bear testimony to his nationalist aspirations.  Even amongst the larger-scale sonatas, the symphony and the variations of his early period we find occasional piano miniatures and songs inspired by Norwegian folk music and poetry.  However, it was a discovery that he made in 1869 at the age of 26 that fired his fervour.  He came across a treasury of ‘Mountain Melodies, old and new’, collected by the organist Ludwig Mathias Lindeman and published in 1841, which made him realise what a wealth of originality and variety there was in the music of his native land.  From then on he turned away from classical forms and found his creative zenith in lyrical song and piano tone-pictures.  He also published important keyboard arrangements of folk tunes, some under his own name, others uncredited but unmistakably Grieg in style, and it is from these collections that many of his later, nationalist works spring.

One of the most substantial works of his later years was the Old Norwegian Melody with Variations for two pianos – Grieg’s only original work for this medium.  …

Peter Craddock

Piano Concerto No 1 in Eb major
Franz Liszt  1811 – 1886

Liszt is one of the most important and influential figures in the history of music: a prolific composer and arranger, a phenomenal pianist, an influential teacher, and an active supporter of other composers.  His reputation as a pianist of staggering virtuosity, while reasonable enough in itself, can easily become misleading, for the notion that all Liszt’s music is merely flashy and brilliant is simply wrong.  It is in fact an output of great variety and inventiveness, one of the most significant contributions to the repertoire of the 19th century.

Liszt began to sketch the E flat Concerto soon after 1830 and completed its original version in 1849, making further revisions in 1853 and 1855.  …

Terry Barfoot

Symphony No 4 in E minor, Opus 98
Johannes Brahms  1833 – 1897

Brahms began the composition of his Fourth Symphony during 1884 and conducted its first performance at Meiningen the following year.  It is a work of great strength and power, whose emotional outlook makes an intensely personal statement even though the music has no programmatic element.

Although the theme of the Symphony’s first subject is long and expressive, its initial presentation is phrased in pairs of notes before it is allowed to expand to its full potential.  …

Terry Barfoot

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