Petersfield Orchestra performed Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique Symphony and Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto to a full house at their Festival concert last March. Conductor Mark Biggins expressed his satisfaction, even while explaining that, regretfully, he was unavailable for the summer rehearsals and concert! Mark has had the offer of involvement in not one but two operas over just this period.
So deputising for him on the rostrum at this concert will be a very familiar face indeed. Robin Browning, Petersfield Orchestra’s Conductor for a dozen years and who is now doing great things with his professional band in Southampton, will be venturing back down the M27 to encounter some old faces as well as plenty of new ones amongst the players.
Robin’s programme, though, remains unchanged. It begins with Ravel’s Le tombeau de Couperin – the composer’s own orchestration of four of the six pieces originally written for solo piano during World War 1 and dedicated to lost friends. If that suggests something solemn or funereal, the music is anything but; it is delightfully light-hearted in character. It’s also a challenge for any oboist – but for the Orchestra’s superstar first oboe Lucinda Willits, it should hold no terrors. It is equally demanding for 2nd oboe, Mel Espin, who has the very challenging cor anglais part to play.
Another of the woodwind players will also be in the limelight. First bassoon, Richard Moore, is not only a virtuoso of the first rank, he is also an authority on all matters to do with his instrument. He’ll be playing one of the very few concertos for his instrument that are a regular part of the repertoire: the Concerto in F by Carl Maria von Weber. His concerto was written in six weeks for the bassoonist of the Munich Court Orchestra, and was designed to put him through his paces, which it does with much wit and humour. NB that Richard will be talking “All Things Bassoon” in a pre-concert talk in the Hall at 6.30 p.m.
And finally: what is there new to say about Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony, other than that it is a long time – nearly 20 years – since it was last performed by Petersfield Orchestra? It’s a masterpiece! Don’t miss it! Petersfield Orchestra’s summer concert is on Thursday 13 June 2019 at 7.30 in Petersfield Festival Hall. Tickets go on public sale on 13 May from One Tree Books Petersfield, 01730 261199.