10th February 2015

Copyright Ben Ealovega

Copyright Ben Ealovega

Conductor: Graham Ross

Tuesday 10th February 2015, 7.30pm
St John’s Smith Square


– Elgar Sospiri
– Ravel Shéhérazade, ouverture de féerie
– Elgar Symphony No.2

 We asked Graham about the programme and his response was as follows: “Elgar 2 is one of the great symphonic works of the 20th century.  I’ve conducted Elgar 1 before, so I jumped at the opportunity to work on the Second Symphony with Salomon Orchestra.  It’s a remarkable work from a composer whom I greatly admire for his treatment of the orchestral forces, his mastery in orchestration, and his harmonic language.  ‘Sospiri’ for harp and strings, which opens our programme, is one of the great miniatures of the string repertoire.  Initially planned as a companion piece to ‘Salut d’amour’ with a proposed title of ‘Soupir d’amour’ (‘Sigh of Love’), Elgar realised during the composition that he was writing something much more intense, and so called the work ‘Sospiri’ (‘Sighs’).  It shares all the sighing qualities of the Second Symphony’s second movement, composed just a few years later.  Ravel’s ‘Shéhérezade: Ouverture de féerie’ is rarely performed.  It’s Ravel’s first orchestral score, composed in the late 1890s, and, just like the Elgar, shows a composer who had a unrivalled skill at orchestration and large-scale structures.  Whilst it’s not one of his best-known orchestral works, I think it’s a fascinating insight into a young Ravel, revealing all the hallmarks of his later compositional style.”

“I hope that the audience will enjoy witnessing this great English symphony alongside one of Elgar’s perfect miniatures and a score from Ravel composed at a very similar time.  The different landscapes presented by the two composers are worlds apart, and yet only separated by fifteen years or so.  The Ravel is rarely heard, but it should be – just like the symphony, it shows a real mastery of composition and, in particular, orchestration.”

Tickets are available from St John’s Smith Square.