25th May 2016

Copyright Ben Ealovega

Graham Ross: Copyright Ben Ealovega

Conductor: Graham Ross
Narrator: Sir Timothy Ackroyd
Chorus: Chantage

Wednesday 25th May 2016 7.30pm
St John’s Smith Square


– Tchaikovsky – Fantasy Overture ‘Hamlet’
– Vaughan Williams – Three Shakespeare Songs (conducted by James Davey)
– Delius – Walk To The Paradise Garden
– Walton – Henry V: A Shakespeare Scenario (Christopher Palmer arrangement)

For Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary we bring together music inspired directly and indirectly by his work. Graham Ross, our conductor for this concert, says about the programme: “This Shakespeare-inspired programme contains some of the most thrilling pieces in the repertoire.  I’m delighted to be working again with the wonderful Salomon Orchestra, joined in this special performance by Chantage and narrator Sir Timothy Ackroyd.  I’ve been excited about working on this programme for months – this isn’t one to miss!”

Premiered a week after his 5th Symphony (and more successfully at the time), Tchaikovsky’s Hamlet invokes the brooding atmosphere of Elsinore, with Ophelia represented by a plaintive oboe melody. Graham Ross says “Blazing trombones, a devastatingly beautiful central section with oboe solo, and a superbly-crafted Moderato theme eventually combine in the closing section of Tchaikovsky’s epic Overture – a true masterpiece of the repertoire, which should be performed more often.”

Vaughan Williams’ beautiful Three Shakespeare Songs performed a capella are followed by an interlude from Delius’ opera A Village Romeo and Juliet, with lovers Sali and Vreli on their ‘Walk to the Paradise Garden’ to dance the night away at the riverside inn, where they realise they cannot escape their village and live like vagabonds (here including the black fiddler whose disinheritance as the illegitimate son of a trumpeter was the source of the families’ feud, a poor horn player and a hunchbacked double bassist), but must be forever united in death.

Christopher Palmer’s Shakespeare Scenario takes much of the best music Walton penned for the 1944 Laurence Olivier film of Henry V and presents it with some of the most rousing speeches by ‘Harry the King’, with music ranging from the gentle Baïlèro (borrowed from Canteloube’s Songs of the Auvergne) to the scintillating full on Agincourt Song. This arrangement reinstates so much of the great music that is otherwise missing from the more-often performed Suite.  The combination of full orchestra, chorus and narrator makes for an absolutely thrilling hour of music.

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

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