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).
Beethoven portrays a heroic struggle for freedom from Spanish religious oppression in the Netherlands. Bliss lived through the upheavals of world wars, holding fast to his optimism. Brahms took up the challenge of Beethoven, in a symphony of titanic conflict, resolved in a blaze of light.
Bromley Symphony Orchestra gratefully acknowledges the financial support of The Bliss Trust for this performance of the Bliss Violin concerto. Fans of the composer may also be interested in the activities of the Bliss Society.
Rachmaninov’s great symphony has a gloriously rich sound of broad tunes, with passionate declamation. Wagner’s early opera celebrated the life of 14th century Roman populist leader Rienzi on the grandest scale. By contrast, Haydn offers a joyful and radiant concerto.
Mozart Piano Concerto No. 23 K488 soloist: Tracey Renwick
Shostakovich Symphony No. 10
Shostakovich’s symphony was in part a public reaction to Stalin’s death, and in other ways an enigmatic and private work entwining personal mottos from an emotional relationship. Its dramatic power is complemented by Strauss’s brilliant tone-poem, and the sublime intimate melodies of Mozart’s concerto.
Why does some music gain universal popularity and fame? Great tunes, freshness, vitality, romance, drama – all are shown in this concert. Grieg’s spirited portrayal of the adventures of ‘Peer Gynt’ is among the most played orchestral music. Mozart’s humour and high spirits in a showpiece for the French horn has immediate appeal. And on every hearing, the revolutionary drama of Beethoven ‘Eroica’ strikes the listener anew with the shock of a journey from tragedy to triumph.
The idea of this very colourful orchestration of Bach’s great organ work came from a meeting between Elgar and Richard Strauss. After the death of his wife in 1920, many believed that Elgar’s inspiration had faded. However, reviewing the sketches for Elgar’s unfinished last symphony, Anthony Payne found the music ‘leapt from the page’ for his acclaimed and deeply satisfying completion which he will be introducing at this concert. We celebrate Payne’s own 70th birthday with a performance of his serene work, which was inspired by Delius’s ‘In a Summer Garden’.
Shostakovich Violin Concerto No. 1 soloist – Alex Afia
Tchaikovsky “The Nutcracker” Ballet – Act 2
Sibelius’s overture tells a story from Finland’s epic poem ‘The Kalevala’ in which an old magician tries to woo an alluring, beautiful maiden. We welcome Shostakovich’s Centenary year with this concerto, which begins darkly with driving energy, and after a subdued slow movement with one of his warmest melodies, ends in a festive finale. By contrast Tchaikovsky’s ‘Nutcracker’ offers a fairy tale entertainment with charming and popular dance music.
In Mahler’s romantic vision ‘a symphony is like the world, it must contain everything’. His third symphony, written at his retreat in the Austrian Alps in 1893-4, was first titled ‘A Summer Morning’s Dream’ and is a wonderful orchestral pageant of nature and human experience. It includes a sublime movement for soloist and chorus, and ends in an exultant finale ‘What Love Tells Me’.
Le Corsair is a concert showpiece, with the swashbuckling pirate, swift and brilliant in adventure, calmed with beautiful expressive melody, providing images of Berlioz’s own passionate personality.In more reflective style, Brahms’s Violin Concerto is full again of lovely melody and rich orchestration, in a work written for his great friend and adviser Joseph Joachim. Finally, a world away in war-torn Soviet Russia, written by Prokofiev in 1944 the Symphony No.5 is a glittering and heroic work, full of sharp wit and flowing song-lines, contending with powerful external forces.
Glinka’s overture to his opera Ruslan and Lyudmila is full of sweeping melodies and driving rhythms, describing the battle against sorcery to win the hand of an enchanted princess. In Michael Tippett’s opera The Midsummer Marriage, the lovers’ path is also attended by magic, portrayed in the Ritual Dances of the seasons, ending with a rapturous climax in the summer fire-dance. The last work, Schubert’s ‘Great’ Symphony No. 9, of striking rhythmic vitality and sheer lyrical beauty, was famously described as ‘heavenly length’ by Schumann.
Scapino, a servant in the Italian Art of Comedy, is the subject of one of Walton’s most popular works. It opens in a blaze of bright light and high spirited mischief, leading on to Scapino the lover in a serenade, before more escapades. The ballet Checkmate by Arthur Bliss (later knighted and Master of the Queen’s Music) depicts a contest on the chessboard between good and evil, through music of fantasy and harmonic freshness. Elgar’s symphonic poem Falstaff takes us back to the theatre, with a portrait of Shakespeare’s larger than life character, a chancer, charmer and braggart, ultimately broken hearted in his rejection and death.