You are here: Home > Concerts > 5 Dec 15You are not logged in.
Oaklands Catholic School,
Waterlooville (Click here for directions)


 Next   Previous 
Saturday 5th December 2015   7:30pm
Conductors:  Jonathan Butcher and Joseph Beckhelling*
6:30pm: Pre-concert talk in the main hall:  Vincent Iyengar (HSO viola) will be talking about the Elgar Symphony
7:00pm: Pre-concert interlude with music from Portsmouth Grammar School viola ensemble, pupils of Ruth McGibben (HCO viola). 

*Festive Overture, Op 96 – Shostakovich

*Pavane pour une infante défunte – Ravel

Four Last Songs – Richard Strauss
Soloist: Jane Streeton

Symphony No 1 in Ab major – Elgar

The exuberant ‘Festive Overture’ by Shostakovich provides a rousing opening to Havant Symphony Orchestra’s three-concert season at Oaklands School.  Shostakovich dashed this off in three days in response to an urgent request to compose something for a concert to commemorate the 37th Anniversary of the 1917 October Revolution.  Lyrical melodies contrast beautifully with triumphant brass fanfares!

Also with a nostalgic air, Ravel’s Pavane pour une infante défunte was originally a piece for solo piano – not, as it might appear, a reference to any particular person, but evoking the atmosphere of a stately dance performed at the Spanish court.  Ravel himself orchestrated it, giving the soulful melody to the horn.

HSO have not worked with a vocal soloist for many years so are particularly delighted to welcome soprano Jane Streeton to sing the Four Last Songs by Richard Strauss.  These were among the last works Strauss completed before his death in 1949 and they were premiered in 1950 in the Royal Albert Hall.  Three of the four songs are about death but all of them convey an air of calmness and acceptance.  Strauss reflects his own life in these pieces in the use of the soprano voice and in giving prominence in the instrumentation to the horn – his wife was a soprano and his father a professional horn player.

Elgar wrote just two symphonies, the first receiving its premiere in Manchester in 1908.  It was much anticipated, as Elgar had been planning a symphony for more than 10 years, and it was enthusiastically received by critics and audiences alike.  Elgar had for a while been toying with the idea of a symphony on the subject of General Gordon, but came to a point where he rejected such programmatic pieces in favour of purely abstract composition.  Elgar’s unmistakable gift for melody is in evidence throughout and the whole Symphony is a wonderful example of the music we have come to think of as typically English.  It demands a large orchestra with piccolo, cor anglais, bass clarinet and contra bassoon all added to the usual wind section, tuba added to the brass, several percussion instruments joining the timpani and two harps joining the strings!

Jane Streeton

Website kindly hosted by