11th October 2016

Conductor: Philip Hesketh

Tuesday 11th October 2016 7.30pm
St John’s Smith Square


– Butterworth: A Shropshire Lad Rhapsody
– Bliss: Things to Come (concert music from the film)
– Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.6 in B minor

George Butterworth’s Shropshire Lad Rhapsody poignantly depicts an England before the Battle of the Somme that killed this most promising composer a century ago. Arthur Bliss was deeply affected by the death of his brother in the same battle, and once convinced by HG Wells (150 years old this year) to compose the music for a film inspired by his future history on the stupidity and consequences of conflict, Bliss enthusiastically completed it before filming began, and the Things to Come Suite was a sensation at the 1934 Proms a year before the film release. Many maintain it is amongst the best music ever written for film, and the March is probably the most famous of Bliss’ music. The Concert Music arranged by Philip Lane from recordings extends the Suite with music for which the original manuscript was lost.

Tchaikovsky described his 6th Symphony as ‘the best thing I ever composed or shall compose’. He died of cholera at the age of 53 nine days after conducting the premiere so we can only speculate if works as great may have followed. Although presented without a descriptive programme or name in his lifetime (he crossed out ‘Pathétique’ from the manuscript 24 hours after his brother suggested it), the 6th symphony is revolutionary in its totality, following the passions and struggles of life and a thrilling but ultimately empty march with a lament of exhaustion and oblivion.

Tickets available from St John’s Smith Square or may be obtained from orchestra members.