Preview of HSO’s next concert: Baroque and modern music combined

Stuart Reed writes:

None of the musicians can remember Havant Symphony Orchestra ever playing Baroque music before. So it will be great to hear them play something extraordinary at their next concert at 7.30 pm on Saturday 1st December at Oaklands School, Waterlooville.

The concert is jam-packed full of great music.

The HSO’s opening number will be Sir Edward Elgar’s arrangement of the Overture in D minor by George Frederick Handel. It’s not exactly true Baroque but an exciting work, none-the-less. Under the baton of Jonathan Butcher, the HSO are likely to give a noteworthy performance.

The Bob Harding Bursary holder, Stefano Boccacci, will conduct Gustav Holst’s A Somerset Rhapsody Op 21. The famous folk tune collector, Cecil Sharpe, asked Holst to compose this very English work.

It contains four rural tunes – The Sheep Shearing Song, High Germany, The True Lover’s Farewell and The Cuckoo. Holst weaves the melodies in and out, sometimes overlapping them. It’s got all the wholesome flavour of country life in Southern England.

Enthusiastic Stefano, who comes from Colombia, has enjoyed working on this material with the HSO so much that at one rehearsal he completely forgot to bring the session to an end. After about 20 minutes of extra time, that ace clarinet player Spence Bundy, who had been playing most of the day already, had to call time before exhaustion set in.

French Composer Maurice Ravel took two laborious years (1929 – 1931) to write his Piano Concerto in G major. He said it exhausted him. He believed that the days of composers scribbling down ideas on bits of paper were long gone and thought that writing music was seventy-five percent an intellectual activity.
The work was written specifically for Marguerite Marie-Charlotte Long, a renowned pianist and teacher. Her husband had been killed in World War One. She and Ravel toured twenty European cities performing this jazzy, upbeat work.

Dinara Klinton will be at the keyboard to play Ravel’s Concerto. Born in Ukraine, she studied at the Moscow Central Music School, the Royal College of Music in London and the Moscow State Conservatory. She is renowned for her fantastic virtuosity, energy and power. Sir Andras Schiff described her as a real virtuoso, a born pianist. What a treat it will be to hear such a prestigious artist play with the HSO.

Ralph Vaughan Williams’ A London Symphony will conclude the programme. In 1913 fellow composer George Butterworth suggested VW write it. The work was first performed in 1914.

Tragically, Butterworth was killed at the Battle of the Somme. This may have prompted VW to start revising it, which he did in 1918, 1920, and 1933. It’s been lost and reconstructed but was finally published in 1933.

The work is said to be a mixture of serious intent and picturesque amusement. It’s full of the sounds of the capital. Westminster chimes set the scene. There are snatches of music denoting bustling streets, fun and games on Hampstead Heath, a foggy November afternoon in Bloomsbury Square, the singing of lavender sellers, frolicking street urchins, a busy Westminster Embankment with the mighty Thames flowing through the heart of the city and the splendour of up-market hotels. Doubtless, Musical Director Jonathan Butcher will bring all of this to life.

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