‘The Sounds of Nature’
Mahler Symphony No. 3
with "The Carroll Singers" and Trinity Boys' Choir
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’.
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.
|BerliozOverture 'Le Corsaire'
Brahms Violin Concerto
Prokofiev Symphony No. 5
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 Overture 'Ruslan and Lyudmila'
Tippett Ritual Dances from 'A Midsummer Marriage'
Schubert Symphony No. 9 - ('Great C major')
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.
|Walton Overture 'Scapino'
Bliss BalletSuite 'Checkmate'
Elgar 'Falstaff' - A Symphonic Fantasy
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.
|MozartSymphony No. 39
Richard Strauss 'Ein Heldenleben' ('A Hero's Life')
Our first concert of the season contrasts the classical elegance of Mozart with the extravagant expression of Richard Strauss. Of Mozart’s last three symphonies, No 39 is least played, a work of inspiration, joyful exuberance and sombre introspection, that can still surprise and delight. In A Hero’s Life Strauss portrays his life as an epic struggle, between his inner life and love for his wife Pauline, a famously temperamental singer, and the outer world, battling for understanding and recognition of his work against his adversaries – the critics!
Franck Le Chasseur Maudit
Bruch Scottish Fantasy
Dvořák Symphony No. 9 From the New World opus 95 in E minor
Franck vividly depicts an “accursed huntsman” who is damned because he goes hunting on a Sunday. The ‘Scottish Fantasy’ is Bruch’s “other” great work with solo violin, and incorporates portions of Scottish folk tunes in each of its four movements. To finish our season we celebrate the centenary of Dvorák’s death in the best possible way, by performing the ‘New World’, his most famous and popular composition.
Dvořák Serenade op 44 in D minor
Wagner Wesendonk Lieder
Vaughan Williams Symphony No. 3 (Pastoral)
Dvořák’s D minor Serenade is one of the really great works in the repertoire for wind ensemble. We are delighted to welcome back Malmfrid Sand to sing the Wesendonk Lieder. Wagner had an intense relationship with the German poet and writer Mathilde Wesendonk, and set five of her poems to music. A wordless soprano also features in the last movement of the ‘Pastoral’ Symphony, which is close to the spiritual centre of Vaughan Williams and has intense passions running deep below its largely dispassionate surface.
Sibelius Symphony No. 7
Nielsen Flute Concerto Burak Besir Flute
Beethoven Symphony No. 2 op 36 in D Major
Two contrasting symphonies sandwich Nielsen's delightful concerto, which has been described as “piquant, fluent and with no dearth of humour”. Beethoven’s Second Symphony is very much an example of pure “classical” style, whereas Sibelius described his own later works as offering the public “pure cold water”, while other composers were engaged in manufacturing cocktails.
Burak Besir (flute) is a 2003 winner of The Philip and Dorothy Green Award for Young Concert Artists. This scheme, run by "Making Music" (formerly known as the National Federation of Music Societies) has been instrumental in launching the careers of many of today's stars. Burak Besir was born in Cyprus. After early training in Cyprus and Ankara, he moved to the UK and took his MMus Performance Degree at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. He has given recitals in Cyprus and Istanbul as well as in England.
The Firebird by Andrey Anisimov.
Khachaturian Adagio of Spartacus and Phryggia
The Adagio from the ballet Spartacus of 1954 will be better known to many as the theme of The Onedin Line.
Tchaikovsky Swan Lake Suite Opus 20a (excerpts)
Swan Lake is the story of Prince Siegfried who falls in love with Princess Odette, who had been turned into a swan by the evil Rothbart. It was first performed in Moscow in 1877, but the form was much more advanced than the company was used to and the performance was not coherent and not well received. The version choreographed by Pepita and Ivanov, premiered in St Petersburg in 1895 is the one that survived. Swan Lake contains some of Tchaikovsky's most memorable music.
Stravinsky The Firebird (Complete, 1910)
The Firebird, written for the Ballets Russes, shows the influence of Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and other Russian masters as well as Debussy. It is full of the most wonderful, exotic orchestral colour, much of it familiar from the popular suite. In the 3 years following his use of rhythms and folk songs became more advanced resulting in the ballets Petrushka and the Rite of Spring.
The march Orb and Sceptre conjures up the pomp and ceremony of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, for which it was written 50 years ago.
In his Jazz Suites, Shostakovich really lets his hair down. They are not really jazz at all, but simply great light music in the style of the dance music of the era. Unlike the first suite, Jazz Suite No. 2 is scored for a large orchestra.
Gershwin’s light-hearted An American in Paris has closer jazz influences, and portrays the impression of an American visitor to Paris as he strolls about, absorbing the sounds and atmosphere of the city.
Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 is one of his most deeply felt works, and also one of his most popular. Its opening mood of brooding self-doubt is followed by vivid contrasts, frenzied climaxes, a celebrated slow movement, an elegant waltz, ending with the rich orchestral splendour of an exultant finale.