The ‘Sicilian Vespers’ is one of Verdi's many popular operatic overtures, using the tunes from the opera to set the scene.
Berlioz, whose bicentenary is this year, was a great admirer of Shakespeare. Like many other composers, he was especially drawn to the drama and passion of the story of ‘Romeo and Juliet’.
Sir Malcolm Arnold is a modern composer, who is perhaps not as “fashionable” as he might be since his music is instantly approachable, witty and tuneful, qualities that abound in his 5th Symphony of 1960. His music is familiar to most people through his prolific film scores, including Bridge on the River Kwai and his award winning Inn of the Sixth Happiness. For more information on the man and his music visit the excellent official web site.