Preview: Petersfield Orchestra wishes Beethoven a happy 250th birthday


Petersfield Orchestra’s contribution to the town’s prestigious Musical Festival promises to be an absolute delight for the audience and players alike. It’s not always easy for amateur orchestras to strike the right balance between material which is a pleasure for the musicians to play and is also pleasing for those concert-goers who enjoy listening to familiar, popular works. However, the programme scheduled for Thursday 19 March at the Festival Hall, Petersfield, really does hit the spot.

The three Hungarian Dances by Johannes Brahms are full of that composer’s enthusiasm for mid-European gypsy folk tunes. Doubtless, the two demon fiddlers, Eduard Remenyi and Joseph Joachim, whom Brahms worked with, inspired him when writing this material and more besides.

On the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth, what could be a more fitting tribute than for the Petersfield Orchestra to perform his Piano Concerto (Number 3, in C minor, Op 37)? Many amateur and professional ensembles up and down the UK and abroad are marking the occasion too. But the Petersfield audience will be enthralled when that talented exponent of the keyboard, Cordelia Williams, begins to play this. After all, it is one of the legendary composer’s greatest works.

Felix Mendelsohn’s Scottish Symphony (Number 3 in A minor, Op 56) is an inspired choice too. The last of his symphonies, it pleased Queen Victoria and he dedicated it to her. It’s both moodily atmospheric in parts and as joyful as a Highland reel in others.

The whole programme is bound to please the audience, but what of the musicians? Although in general it’s a pleasure to play, some musicians admit privately that the music is not without its challenges; a few tricky corners to negotiate. Doubtless the players of the Petersfield Orchestra will rise to the occasion, as they always do under the direction of Robin Browning.

Having given this concert the big build-up it deserves, it’s only fair to warn music lovers that the tickets are going fast. Book early to avoid disappointment.

View Cordelia Williams’ YouTube channel.

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