Good Luck to the Librarian! That’s what other orchestral team members often say to one of their key players, when a new season is being planned. It’s certainly true for Petersfield Orchestra, where Rodney Preston, long a member of the first violin section, has recently inherited the Librarian portfolio. Suddenly, Rodney is a vital backroom boy. For the Orchestra’s next season, taking in three concerts in November 2019 and March and June in 2020, he’s tasked with laying hands on the music from which the players must perform: no straightforward assignment, this, as it involves public and sometimes private lending libraries, contacting publishers, worrying about copyright, making sure the printed parts arrive in time, that there are enough of them, and especially that they are legible and have not been subject – as they usually have been! – to all sorts of indelible markings by countless previous users.
First up, on Thursday 14 November, he has to find the sheet music for an all-Russian event featuring a warhorse, a blockbuster, and a rarity. New Zealand born violinist Alexandra Lomeiko is playing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto: expect fireworks! Borodin’s Second Symphony is a cracker, too – it makes it easy to visualize vast steppes and marauding invaders. But hands up who’s ever heard Sadko, a vivid ‘musical tableau’ that is an early work by Rimsky-Korsakov. The Orchestra people reassure us that it’s evidently from the same pen that created the ever-popular Sheherazade.
Then with Christmas and New Year safely behind us – or so it’s to be hoped – the repertoire goes a bit more classical. Happy Birthday, Beethoven! It is the great man’s 250th birthday in 2020 and ever on the ball, Petersfield gets in on the act early, by programming his Third Piano Concerto with notable soloist Cordelia Williams in their concert on 19th March, as part of Petersfield Musical Festival. A clutch of Hungarian Dances in Brahms’s own orchestration kicks things off, while Mendelssohn’s Third Symphony, named by the composer himself as the Scottish, rounds things off in effervescent fashion. Whisky and soda, anyone?
And then Haydn and Mozart top the bill on Thursday 18 June 2020. Haydn is back in Hampshire! The older composer’s Drumroll Symphony was actually composed for London, and Haydn very likely passed through Petersfield on one of his trips in this country: he certainly visited the Isle of Wight. And then there is Mozart’s one and only Oboe Concerto, a delightful piece which will be performed on this occasion by Petersfield Orchestra’s very own first oboe, Lucinda Willitts.
Who’ll be conducting? Good question, as regular baton-wielder Mark Biggins fell off his bike during the summer badly enough to be out of action for the foreseeable future. Robin Browning steps into the breech, and back into his old job, at least for November. What with planning the season, locating the music, and then even playing it, busy times loom for the Petersfield musical crew – Librarian, Conductor, and even the humblest fiddler.
Click here to download the flyer: Petersfield Orchestra 2019_2020 Season programme.