BRISTOL SYMPHONY O R C H E S T R A
ROMANTIC MASTERWORKS WITH NICOLA MEECHAM Piano
SATURDAY 4TH NOVEMBER 2017
William Goodchild Conductor Lauren Bose Guest Leader
In support of
w w w. b r i s t o l s y m p h o n y o r c h e s t r a . c o m
Welcome to this evening’s concert, Romantic Masterworks, given by Bristol Symphony Orchestra with special guest soloist, pianist Nicola Meecham. We hope you enjoy this performance and have a wonderful evening. We are very happy to announce that, for 2017 /18, Bristol Symphony is helping to support the St Peter’s Hospice Room to Care Appeal - building a 21st Century Hospice for Bristol. Tonight’s concert is the first of three events by the Orchestra to help the charity raise awareness and funds for this important capital appeal. We will be following up at the start of 2018 with an Orchestra Lose the Booze sponsored dry January! If you’d like to help us support the charity, please visit our Just Giving page (link below). Our third event will take place in November next year: a spectacular performance in Clifton Cathedral. We would like to thank Helen Wilde (High Sheriff of Bristol 2016/17) and her husband Peter for their warmth, enthusiasm and continuing financial support of Bristol Symphony. With all good wishes,
Artistic Director and Conductor Bristol Symphony Orchestra
Delius The Walk to the Paradise Garden Schumann Piano Concerto op. 54 in A minor INTERVAL Mahler Adagietto from Symphony no. 5 Brahms Symphony no. 4, op. 98 in E minor
PROGRAMME NOTES Frederick Delius 1862 – 1934 The Walk to the Paradise Garden
Frederick Delius was born in Yorkshire into a prosperous, mercantile family of German origin. Once his father had given up persuading him to join the family business, he allowed his son to enrol at the Leipzig Conservatorium where he studied from 1886 to 1888. From Germany Delius went to Paris, remaining there for almost a decade composing songs, operas, instrumental and orchestral pieces, and subsequently spent most of his life in France. Until he was thirty-seven Delius’ works were largely unpublished and unknown to the British public: he was better known and appreciated in Germany. In 1901 he wrote the opera A Village Romeo and Juliet and, to cover the set change between scenes five and six, he composed tonight’s intermezzo, The Walk to the Paradise Garden so that a country village fair could metamorphose into a magical paradise garden, complete with river, mountains, and valley.
But The Walk to the Paradise Garden is so much more than music to cover a scene change. It is a rhapsody - a tone poem about unconditional and eternal love. It is an intense outpouring of the deepest emotion, a masterpiece of orchestration and compositional fluency, and is uniquely Delius in every bar. It is worth bearing in mind that the sounds and timbre of this work were completely unfamiliar in the early twentieth century. From 1907 onwards however, Delius’ music became increasingly well-known to British and European audiences, and by 1910 his fame had spread to America. His contemporary, Richard Strauss, commented “I had no idea that anyone was writing such good music as this, besides myself”. Sadly, Delius became blind and infirm in 1922, relying on Eric Fenby, a young music student, to write down his compositions from dictation.
Robert Schumann 1810 – 1856
Piano Concerto in A minor Op 54 (i) Allegro affettuoso - Andante espressivo Allegro (ii) Intermezzo: Andantino grazioso (iii) Allegro vivace Tonight’s piano concerto is the only one Schumann completed. For twelve years from 1828, he had worked on several piano concerti but finished not one. In 1841 he composed his Fantasie in C major Op 17 for piano and orchestra, which his wife Clara urged him to expand into a full piano concerto. In 1845, he added the Intermezzo and Allegro vivace to complete the work, so the Fantasie as such disappeared from the repertoire. The work premiered in Leipzig on New Year’s Day 1846 with Clara as the soloist. The shifting moods that characterise so much of Schumann’s music are clearly evident in the Piano Concerto and there is a quasi-symphonic character to it. The Allegro affetuoso is anything but conventional. Tunes pour out - sometimes passionate, sometimes furious, one after another but all clearly related. Highly contrasted sections form, at times, a desperate conversation between piano and orchestra. The Intermezzo maintains a serene but optimistic mood, the delicate question and answer between the piano and orchestra at the opening ushering in the middle section with a more expansive Romantic theme in the cellos. Its material is subtly derived from the opening theme of the first movement, which returns in more clearly recognisable form in a march-like coda leading straight into the effervescent Allegro vivace finale. Schumann makes striking use of the finale’s joyful, upward-leaping theme, including a fugal passage. Rhythmic ambiguities abound, colouring the dance-like spirit, with the prevailing mood one of unfettered optimism that ultimately swells to exuberant triumph.
Gustav Mahler 1860 – 1911 Adagietto from Symphony No 5
During the summers of 1901 and 1902 Mahler composed his Fifth Symphony, which is in three parts and five movements, of which the Adagietto is the fourth. However, its première in Cologne in 1904 was a complete failure as the audience was totally unprepared for its stupendous power and dizzying dramatic scope. Today, it is one of Mahler’s most popular symphonies. Part of the problem for early audiences lay in the sheer extremes of this music: it is long, scored for a gigantic orchestra, its music-drama full of unfamiliar musical textures. Scored only for strings and harp, the Adagietto is an island of calm in the seething tumult of the overall symphony. Its gentle sound and restrained atmosphere made this movement instantly attractive to audiences, and it was often performed separately during the decades before Mahler’s music became popular. One of the first conductors who led the way for the Adagietto as a separate work was Mahler himself. The music comes to life emerging from the silence on soft, sustained string notes interspersed with the harp. Mahler’s markings make clear what he wanted from a performance: espressivo, seelenvoll (soulful), and mit innigster Empfindung (with the most heartfelt sentiment). Beginning very quietly, the music is soon full of longing: its graceful melodies unfold with bittersweet intensity, rise gradually to a soaring climax, and finally fall back to its peaceful close.
Johannes Brahms 1833 – 1897 Symphony No 4 in E minor (Op 98)
(i) Allegro non troppo (ii) Andante moderato (iii) Allegro giocoso (iv) Allegro energico e passionato Brahms’ final symphony, is often referred
to as ‘tragic’ for its intensely passionate and darkly dramatic moods. In contrast with some mid to late nineteenth century composers, such as Mahler and Wagner, Brahms embraced classical and older forms and techniques. In fact, from a young age, he showed an interest in Early Music, and throughout his life he collected many manuscripts and scores. This was quite an uncommon interest at the time, as many of his contemporaries rarely studied music that existed pre-nineteenth century. In the Fourth Symphony, Brahms looks back beyond Beethoven, integrating romantic passion with medieval church modes, Baroque variations, and classical sonata form. Brahms was invited to use the Meiningen Court Orchestra as a rehearsal orchestra, which he conducted for the first performance of this great work in 1885.
In contrast to Brahms’ previous symphonies, the first movement presents the main idea with no introduction, in the form of a delicate musical statement. This theme underpins and pervades the entire symphony. The opening of the second movement is in the ancient Phrygian mode and conjours a strange ‘clair-obscur’ mood. Peace is shattered by the start of the raucous third movement with its hectic but joyful opening statement followed by lyrical interludes. The famous fourth movement is a Baroque-style Passacaglia. It combines clarity and intensity of feeling with an impressive force and grandeur. Brahms uses, for his material, a variation of the final movement of J S Bach’s Cantata 150. The theme is stated and then undergoes thirty intense variations. As Kretzschmar puts it in his beautiful analysis of the symphony, ‘this movement leads into the realm where joy and sorrow are hushed, and humanity bows before that which is eternal’. Programme notes by Michael Ray
SOLOIST She has performed in all the major London halls, including Wigmore Hall, St John’s Smith Square, Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Purcell Room, and at prestigious international festivals including Exeter and King’s Lynn. Abroad, she has performed in Holland, Italy, Germany, Belgium and the Czech Republic. She has premièred works by a number of contemporary composers for which she has received critical acclaim, notably by Henyrk Gorecki, H K Gruber and British composers David Horne and Tom Armstrong. Later this year she will be giving a recital of twenty-first century British piano music entitled Voices of Night and Day, including works by Sally Beamish and Graham Fitkin, at The Warehouse in London.
With her playing described as “sensational” [Gramophone], Nicola Meecham has been gaining international acclaim for her performances and recordings since her London debut for the Park Lane Group Music Series. Her recording for SOMM of works by Janáček, Kodály and Enescu earned her a top recommendation in the American Record Guide and exceptional reviews in Gramophone, International Record Review and International Piano Magazine. This year will see the release of a disc of solo works by Tchaikovsky, including his rarely performed sonatas, a project indicative of Nicola’s exceptionally wide-ranging recital repertoire.
In addition to recordings of music by Kurt Schwertsik and the American composer Louis ‘Moondog’ Hardin, Nicola has also given broadcast recitals for BBC Radio 3 and Dutch Radio, and been featured on BBC Two. Born in Bath, Nicola started playing the piano at the age of four and gave her concerto debut at the age of thirteen. She went on to study at the Royal Academy of Music where she won numerous competitive prizes, including the Macfarren Gold Medal, the Academy’s highest distinction. Her teachers have included Hilary Coates, Hamish Milne and Andrzej Esterhazy. She currently teaches at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
CONDUCTOR from the Hollywood International Moving Pictures Film Festival 2017. On stage and in the recording studio, William has collaborated with a wide variety of international soloists including guitarist John Williams, singer Tom Jones, and saxophonist Andy Sheppard. William’s passion for working across styles led to a live and recorded collaboration with Mercury Prize-Winner, Roni Size & Reprazent, and their album, Live at Colston Hall, was released in November 2015. Also at the Colston Hall, with Sir David Attenborough presenting, William orchestrated and conducted the BBC’s Nature’s Great Events Live to a sell-out audience. The BBC’s Wild China series, orchestrated and conducted by William, won an Emmy for Sound and Music.
William Goodchild is a professional composer and conductor. He writes music for film, television, concert performance and commercial installation. Specialising in wildlife documentary, William has scored well over 80 films for the major broadcasters including many that have won international awards. In 2016, for BBC Natural World, Return of the Giant Killers – Africa’s Lion Kings, he was nominated for Best Composer at the RTS West of England Awards; at Wildscreen Festival 2016, he was nominated for the Music Award, for Jago – a Life Underwater. This score was also nominated for the RTS West of England Awards 2017 Best Composer category. For Living Spirit Pictures’ drama short Seeing Him, William won Best Score
Many recordings conducted by William are available to buy on Sony Classical, Universal Classical and Jazz, and CBS Records. He has worked regularly with a number of professional orchestras including the BBC Concert Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Bristol Ensemble. William is Artistic Director and Conductor of Bristol Symphony Orchestra. William lives in north Bristol with his wife Rachel and their two daughters.
BRISTOL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA IS LOSING THE BOOZE FOR ST PETERâ€™S HOSPICE
ROOM TO CARE APPEAL JANUARY 2018
PLEASE HELP BY SPONSORING THE PLAYERS www.justgiving.com/fundraising/bristolsymphonyorchestra OUR JUSTGIVING PAGE IS LIVE NOW Follow us on social media @BristolSymphony #losethebooze
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FIRST VIOLIN Lauren Bose (Guest Leader)
Pamela Bell Erica Burnell Sarah Ivanovich Victoria Medland Gemma Nelson Josie Rampley Robert Tulloh Keir Williams SECOND VIOLIN Kate Jillings Monique Ayres Nasser Ahmari Naomi Hill Jo Phillips Kenneth Price Eloise Wyke Jeremy Zwiegelaar VIOLA Heather Ashford Zoe Ashford Alexia Granatt Timothy Grice Oliver Kohll Craig Thomas
CELLO Will Marriage Vivien Arthur Sophie Barford Jayne Taylor Kathryn Thomas Catherine Warner Rhiannon Wilkinson
ORCHESTRA BASSOON & CONTRABASSOON Daisy Woods Diana Lee David Miller FRENCH HORN Dave Ransom Kaitlyn Hamilton Luke Norland Anna Carter
DOUBLE BASS Rob Lillis Clare Edmunds Alex Pearson Ruth Llewhelin
TRUMPET Peter Medland Simon Bowles
FLUTE Pippa Craggs Jane Lings
TROMBONE Will Whiting Lyn Harradine Will Holley
CLARINET Sophie Wilsdon Sarah Edgeworth OBOE & COR ANGLAIS Olivia Diskin Victoria Cooper Christopher Burt
TIMPANI & TRIANGLE Joshua Cottam HARP Emily Mullings
SOLOISTS Nicholas Oliver Piano Charlie LoveIl-Jones Violin Rebecca Evans Soprano Keith Tempest Cello
SATURDAY MARCH 24TH William Goodchild Conductor Victoria Medland Guest Leader
PROGRAMME Wagner Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 2 Lovell-Jones First Love Strauss Death and Transfiguration Tchaikovsky Andante Cantabile
Romantic Masterworks Concert with Bristol Symphony Orchestra Nicola Meecham at St George's Bristol 4th November 2017
Published on Feb 9, 2018
Romantic Masterworks Concert with Bristol Symphony Orchestra Nicola Meecham at St George's Bristol 4th November 2017