Our third concert of the season features another clever piece of programming: Schubert's delightfully winning Symphony No 5 is followed by Bruckner's shortest symphony: his seismic, turbulent and (finally) transcendent Ninth Symphony.
Here are some programmes, recordings and videos of our performances. In addition, a complete list of every piece we have performed since 1960 is on the repertoire page in a sortable table.
Many of the sound recordings in this archive were recorded by students on the Tonmeister course at the University of Surrey.
Soloist Mathieu van Bellen
Beethoven takes pride of place in our second concert: his powerful ‘Prometheus’ Overture and his fabulous violin concerto frame Sibelius' moodily brilliant Symphony No 4. We are delighted to once again feature rising star Mathieu van Bellen and his Guadagnini violin, this time in one of Beethoven's most iconic works.
Soloist Alexander Soares
We open the season with two ‘takes’ on the romantic period pin-up, Manfred: Schumann's broodingly magnificent ‘Manfred’ overture and Tchaikovsky's rich and dramatic ‘Manfred’ symphony. In between we feature serial international prizewinner Alexander Soares in Grieg's endlessly tuneful piano concerto. Not to be missed!
Here are some pictures taken at this concert:
Glazunov Violin concerto in A minor
Soloist Callum Smart
This concert consists of four brief and delightfully contrasting works. Humperdinck's tuneful overture to Hansel and Gretel gives way to Richard Strauss' charming chamber serenade for thirteen wind instruments and Glazunov's scintillating violin concerto (starring previous Young Musician of the Year violin winner Callum Smart). Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances (a very late work) winds up the evening in sardonic, sensual style.
Not to be missed is our third concert, comprising Mahler's stunning Seventh Symphony, written at the height of his success as conductor and composer, and exemplifying his famous quotation: ‘A symphony must be like the world; it must contain everything.’ The seventh is rightly reckoned rather enigmatic, but contains, after a funeral march, the exquisite 'night music' movements and a demented waltz of a scherzo, an exultant climax.
Dvořák Cello Concerto in B minor
Soloist Daniel Benn
Raine Memories of a Dream
Nineteenth-century Romanticism is hugely to the fore for our second concert, kicking off with the Dvořák, the world's best-known and best-loved cello concerto, performed by the gifted young soloist Daniel Benn in memory of his grandfather, Tony Benn. After the interval the orchestra performs Brahms's Third Symphony, a masterpiece written in a mere four months, of which Clara Schumann wrote to Brahms on February 11, 1884: 'All the movements seem to be of one piece, one beat of the heart.'
Dvořák Cello Concerto - Allegro
Dvořák Cello Concerto - Adagio
Dvořák Cello Concerto - Finale
Jonathan Raine: Memories of a Dream
Brahms: Symphony No. 3
Introduction by Adrian Brown
Allegro con brio
Allegro – Un poco sostenuto
Our opening concert showcases outstanding British composition. From the light, jazzy Portsmouth Point, with its swaggering brass and pointed off-beats, to Walton's resonant, lyrical and eloquently full-throated viola concerto, featuring Caroline Harrison, principal viola of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the concert winds up with Elgar's immortal First Symphony, of which its first conductor, Hans Richter said to his orchestra, 'Let us rehearse the greatest symphony in modern times.'
We end our season with three very different works depicting Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Tchaikovsky’s sublime fantasy overture weaves the main themes of the story into twenty minutes of orchestral perfection. In West Side Story, Leonard Bernstein transplants the two doomed lovers to jazzy 1950’s New York. His Symphonic Dances leave the listener breathless as they are shamelessly bombarded with many of the twentieth century’s best tunes, including ‘Maria’, ‘America’ and ‘Cool.’ Berlioz was equally inspired, especially by his wife-to-be’s performance as Shakespeare’s Juliet. His ‘take’ on the work is bursting with harmonic imagination, fervent power, eloquent emotion and frustrated desire.
Berlioz: Roméo et Juliette
Bernstein: West Side Story
Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juliette
Shostakovich Symphony No. 6
Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition
Shostakovich’s 6th symphony, conceived in the 1930s, is a very personal work, reflecting not only the suffocating oppression of the Stalinist era but also the resilient spirit of the composer, with the power of the first movement balanced by the defiant and even riotous flair of the following two. Mussorgsky’s famous Pictures at an Exhibition was composed within a single month for piano, and has never slipped from orchestral repertoire since Ravel (among others) arranged it and it is Ravel’s orchestration we will be playing. Listen to the spooky ‘Catacombs’, enjoy the gossip from ‘The Market of Limoges’ and thrill to the grandeur of the final ‘Great Gate of Kiev.’
If you think you know Haydn, come and hear Symphony No. 103 (‘The Drumroll’), one of the famous late symphonies composed when Haydn was the toast of London. Symphony No. 103 is one of his most interesting, being packed with originality, pathos and wit. Following this, we are extraordinarily fortunate to be joined by internationally-known singers Janice Watson, John Upperton and Oliver Gibbs to perform Act 1 of Die Walküre, the second part of Wagner’s famous ‘Ring’ cycle. Controversially, some of us think that this is the most enjoyable way of playing Wagner. See what you think!