These pages contain programmes and recordings of most of our recent performances. In addition, a list of every piece we have performed since 1960 is on the repertoire page and a history of the orchestra is on the about page.
Many of the sound recordings in this archive were recorded by students on the Tonmeister course at the University of Surrey, for which we are very grateful. Note that explicit approval is required for any photography or recordings, since we must have the consent of everyone involved and pay any extra fees incurred.
Click the programme covers to download the complete programme in PDF format. You can use a browser plugin such as Video & Audio Downloader to download audio and video recordings (start playing the recording to make it appear in the list).
Berlioz ‘Reverie et Caprice’ Soloist Bernard Brook
Mahler Symphony No. 5
After Beethoven’s tensely dramatic overture and Berlioz’s elegant romance, we celebrate Mahler’s 150th anniversary year with the vast musical canvas and emotional scope of his Fifth Symphony. Its moods include grim and funereal, savage and angry, ebullient and dancing, lyrical and romantic, and finally radiant and triumphant. Its famous adagietto has become particularly well known through its use in Visconti’s classic film ‘Death in Venice’.
Prokofiev ‘Romeo and Juliet’ (Selection from suites 1 & 2)
Kabalevsky’s sparkling overture brilliantly captures the carefree moods of an exuberant hero in the mould of Till Eulenspeigel and Robin Hood. The Tchaikovsky concerto was famously rejected by its original dedicatee Nikolai Rubinstein as being worthless, unplayable and vulgar. How very wrong this has proved to be! Ever since its premiere in 1875 it has been overwhelmingly popular with audiences – and a challenge for pianists. Prokofiev’s celebrated ballet is so full of the most wonderful tunes and orchestral colour that it is a pity that time does not allow us to play it all, but only a generous selection.
Kabalevsky: Overture ‘Colas Breugnon’
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No.1
Prokofiev: ‘Romeo and Juliet’
Montagus and Capulets: Dance of the Knights
Chausson ‘Poeme de l’amour et de la mer’ Soloist Emilien Hamel
Britten ‘Sea Interludes’
Debussy ‘La Mer’
Our theme for this concert is the sea in all its moods. The ‘Sea Interludes’ and ‘La Mer’ are well known concert favourites and make attractive partners for Chausson’s evocative ‘Poème’ and Bridge’s orchestral suite, which Britten heard as a boy of 10 and was “knocked sideways” by what he heard. Bridge subsequently became Britten’s teacher and profoundly influenced his musical development.
Elgar’s most luxuriant and expansive concert overture shows his facility with music on both the grandest scale and the most intimate. Strauss’s final completed work deals with death, but with a wonderful sense of calm acceptance, and features soaring melodies for the soloist against full orchestra. Dvořák’s symphony has a warm and optimistic tone, full of tunes inspired by the Bohemian folk music that he loved.
Wagner Prelude and Liebestod from ‘Tristan and Isolde’
Elgar ‘Enigma’ Variations
Our season opens with this brilliant overture, full of imaginative orchestral colour, vitality and melody. The Bruch concerto, justifiably one of the most popular in the orchestral repertoire is followed by Wagner’s powerful picture of doomed love, death and ultimately transfiguration. We end with Elgar’s well known portrait of “my friends pictured within” which was the piece which really secured his international reputation.
Berlioz – Overture to ‘Benvenuto Cellini’
Bruch – Violin Concerto
Wagner – Prelude and Liebestod from ‘Tristan and Isolde’
Mozart Flute Concerto No.1 in G major Soloist Philip Rowson
Strauss ‘Till Eulenspiegel’
Schumann’s “Rhenish” is perhaps his brightest and most optimistic work. Its tunefulness and folk-like character quickly made it one of his greatest successes and its popularity has endured to the present day. Despite Mozart’s well known claim to dislike the flute, he wrote very well for it, including this delightful concerto. Strauss’s tone poem chronicles the misadventures and pranks of a mischievous German peasant folk-hero. We hear him upsetting market stalls, poking fun at the clergy, flirting with girls and mocking academics. But eventually he is captured and sentenced to death for blasphemy!
Mahler Symphony No.9 This intensely romantic symphony has long been regarded as Mahler’s swansong – his farewell to life. He had been told by his doctor that he had a fatal heart condition. The mystery of death had always preoccupied him, but now it was within sight. The music powerfully expresses his torment, but also affirms his unquenched belief in life. The symphony follows the pattern of Tchaikovsky’s “Pathetique”, ending with an impassioned slow movement.
This programme burns with Mediterranean heat and passion, opening with an exuberant overture, one of Berlioz’s most popular works. Ravel’s Spanish “Rapsodie” has three short movements of sensuous colour and elegance and a dazzling finale. Staying in Spain, the Rodrigo is perhaps the most well known of all guitar concertos, especially its evocative slow movement. Respighi said that “Roman Festivals”, his vivid celebration of ancient Rome, represented his absolute peak of orchestral sonority and colour. It’s certainly that!