2011-2012 season

Saturday 15 October 2011

7.30 pm

Brentwood Ursuline Convent High School, Queens’ Road, Brentwood, Essex CM14 4EX

Glinka Overture, Russlan & Ludmilla

Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No 2 in C minor

Shostakovich Symphony No 5

Piano James Kreiling

Conductor Bradley Winand

We open our new season with a popular all-Russian concert conducted by Bradley Winand. Glinka’s 1842 opera Ruslan & Ludmilla is a magical fairy story (usual formula of an offer of half my kingdom to get my daughter back followed by fantastic adventures by the hero). We start the concert with its exhilarating and exciting overture. We then welcome back James Kreiling who last year played the Grieg piano concerto with us. He will play Rachmaninov’s enduringly popular 2nd piano concerto, written in 1901 and used as the music for the David Lean film Brief Encounter as well as being borrowed by Frank Sinatra for several of his songs.

We end the concert with Shostakovich’s powerful 5th Symphony. Written in 1937 at the height of the Stalinist purges and after the composer had been savagely criticised by the Soviet authorities for writing the wrong sort of music, the music is packed with haunting melodies, dramatic statements and ambiguous messages as Shostakovich fought for his very survival. At its premiere in Leningrad the standing ovation lasted over half an hour.

4 February 2012

7.30 pm

Brentwood Ursuline Convent High School, Queens’ Road, Brentwood, Essex CM14 4EX

Weber Oberon Overture

Beethoven Violin Concerto

Tchaikovsky Symphony No 5

Violin Beth Spendlove

Conductor John Hawkins

Our second concert also starts with a fairy tale overture. Weber’s Oberon is the prelude to a story of pirates, abductions, harems, enslavement and love where the hero only has to blow on his magic horn for Oberon to come and rescue him. John Hawkins conducts this ever-popular overture following which we will be joined by renowned violinist Beth Spendlove in Beethoven’s violin concerto. Most violinists, if asked which concerto they would take to their desert island, would choose this one. No matter how often it is heard it never fails to impress with its majestic first movement, dreamy slow movement and impish finale. The concert ends with Tchaikovsky’s intensely lyrical 5th symphony, written after a year in which he had lost his beloved niece and a life-long friend and was coming to terms with what he saw as inexorable blows of fate.

Saturday 19 May 2012

7.30 pm

Anglo European School, Willow Green, Ingatestone, Essex CM4 0DJ [Please note change of venue]

Berlioz Le Corsaire Overture

Schumann Cello Concerto

Sibelius Symphony No 2

Cello Oliver Farrant

Conductor Bill Brooks

For our final concert of this season, conducted by Bill Brooks, we open with Berlioz’s exciting vision of pirates that he dreamed up while sleeping on a clifftop near Nice. Oliver Farrant, who is from Shenfield and is the principal cello in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, joins us in Schumann’s cello concerto and we end with Sibelius’s second symphony. Written while he was in Switzerland it exemplifies Sibelius’ rugged lyricism inspired by his love of his native Finland.