Preview: Havant Symphony Orchestra’s afternoon Christmas concert

Valentina Seferinova writes:

I will be performing Sergei Rachmaninov’s classic Piano Concerto No 2 in C minor Opus 18 with the Havant Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Jonathan Butcher on the Saturday afternoon of December 9th in the tiered seating hall of Oaklands Catholic Schhol, Waterlooville.

Sounds daunting.

Not at all – it’s Britain’s favourite piano concerto – regularly voted No. 1 by Classic FM listeners.

You might not know the name – but you’ll probably recognise it when you hear it.

Numerous films—such as William Dieterle’s September Affair (1950), Charles Vidor’s Rhapsody (1954), and Billy Wilder’s The Seven Year Itch (1955)—borrow themes from the concerto.  David Lean’s romantic drama Brief Encounter (1945) utilises the music widely in its soundtrack, and Frank Borzage’s I’ve Always Loved You (1946) features it heavily; this has further popularized the work. The concerto has also inspired numerous songs, and is frequently used in figure skating programmes.

The sublime melody from its 2nd movement was ‘pinched’ (polite term !!) by Eric Carmen for ‘his’ “All by Myself“. It’s been recorded by Celine Dion and millions of copies have been sold.

A subsequent court case now has the record corrected and a Google Search will reveal Rachmaninov credited as the composer!

Not sure.

Take a watch/listen to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkMIbbNUuP4

This is but a snippet, about 10%, of the whole work.

Come and hear the original that has inspired many other works – such as Frank Sinatra’s “I Think of You” and “Full Moon and Empty Arms.”

Rachmaninov as a composer is particularly special to me.

My Master of Music (Theory) degree thesis is/was entitled “The Nature of intonation and texture of the piano works of S V  Rachmaninov.”

My elevation to Assistant Professor of Music (Performance) was based on many performances of his works!

Here is an extract from my CV :-

    “……  This was quickly followed by an invitation to give a private solo performance for the AGM of the International Rachmaninov Society, whose President at the time was the Russian maestro, Vladimir Ashkenazy. Valentina was subsequently invited to give three further recitals for the Society (1999, 2005, 2009) – including one in London in the presence of two of the composer’s great grand-children, which earned her a standing ovation.”

Also included in the programme is Weber’s Overture – Oberon. – as a ‘warm’ up’.

After the interval comes Prelude and Mazurka from “Coppelia” – Delibes
Three Scenes from “Hansel and Gretel” – Humperdinck
Fantasy on the Coventry Carol – Trad. arr Brubaker
Christmas Festival – Anderson
and then the chance to sing-along with a full 50-60 piece orchestra in some Christmas carols.

The whole afternoon will be a rip roaring Christmas Warm Up – to get everybody in the spirit for the Festive Season.

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