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Concert Programme for the 2016-2017 season

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Saturday 8th October 2016 − 8pm St John’s College Chapel
Choral Concert: Mozart and Haydn
BEETHOVEN: Sonata in C
HAYDN: Insanae et Vanae Curae
MOZART: Church Sonata in F
MOZART: Laudate Dominum
MOZART: Church Sonata in D
MOZART: Ave Verum Corpus
MOZART: Church Sonata in B♭
HAYDN: Mass in B♭ ‘Little Organ Mass’
Soloists: Eleanor Broomfield (Soprano), Harry Sever (Organ), Steve Bingham (Violin)

The Cambridge Philharmonic Chorus starts the season with an evening of classical favourites in the beautiful setting of St John’s College Chapel. The exciting motet Insanae et Vanae Curae (Insane and stupid worries flood our mind) was a resounding success in 1775 when it was originally part of Haydn’s first oratorio Il ritorno di Tobia. Just a couple of years later, Haydn himself played the organ for the first performance of his Mass in B-flat, affectionately known as the Little Organ Mass. Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus was written for Anton Stoll – a friend of both Mozart’s and Haydn’s – and is one of the extraordinary number of works composed in Mozart’s last year.

“I have often been flattered by my friends with having some genius, but he was much my superior.” Haydn on Mozart

Related links: Programme (PDF 714 kB); Review (Cambridge News)
Saturday 22nd October 2016 − 7.30pm West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge
Symphonic Dances
MAHLER: Totenfeier
SHOSTAKOVICH: Violin Concerto No. 1 − Soloist: Matthew Trusler
RACHMANINOV: Symphonic Dances

Matthew Trusler returns to the Cambridge Phil with the searing first violin concerto of Shostakovich. Written in 1947-48, but not published until after Stalin’s death, the work is a four- movement virtuoso marathon for the soloist. Even the work’s dedicatee, David Oistrakh, found it a challenge: he had to beg Shostakovich to give the introduction of the finale to the orchestra so that “at least I can wipe the sweat off my brow” after the third movement cadenza!

After the success of his first symphony, Mahler immediately started work on its successor; Totenfeier is a powerful and dramatic tone poem that eventually became the first movement of his second symphony. Rachmaninov had stopped composing entirely by the late 1930s, but in the summer of 1940, felt himself compelled to write one last work. The Symphonic Dances are haunting, exhilarating and moving in equal measure. Unabashedly romantic and nostalgic they resonate with the bells and chants so beloved of the great Russian composer.

“Matthew Trusler has been attracting the kind of praise normally reserved for the young Oistrakh.” The Independent

“What I try to do when writing down my music is to make it say simply that which is in my heart.” Rachmaninov

Saturday 10th December 2016 − 7.30pm West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge
VERDI: Falstaff
Soloists: Keel Watson (Falstaff), Mark Stone (Ford), Michelle Walton (Alice), Elgan Llyr Thomas (Fenton), Margo Arsane (Nannetta), Bianca Andrew (Meg Page), Yvonne Howard (Mistress Quickly), Philip Sheffield (Caius), Peter Van Hulle (Bardolfo), Matthew Hargreaves (Pistole),

To mark the end of this year’s Shakespeare 400 celebrations, the Cambridge Philharmonic proudly presents a semi-staged concert performance of one of the greatest comic operas ever written. “Tutto nel mondo è burla!” says Sir John Falstaff: ‘all the world’s a joke!’

Award-winning young director Daisy Evans and an all-star cast, led by Keel Watson in the title role, will bring Verdi’s final opera to the West Road stage. Following critically- acclaimed, sold-out productions of The Adventures of Pinocchio, Carmen and Peter Grimes, this performance of Falstaff promises to be a highlight of the season.

“Keel Watson was born to play Falstaff.” London Evening Standard

Saturday 21st January 2017 − 2pm and 4pm West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge
So what does a conductor do, anyway?

Have you ever been to a concert and wondered what exactly it is that a conductor does? Well, this is your chance to find out!

We’ll go on a whistle-stop tour of conducting through history (did you know that there were conductors in Ancient Greece?), we'll find out how a conductor can change the sound of an orchestra without even saying a word, and we'll hear amazing music by Mendelssohn and Mahler, Bernstein and Berlioz and lots more besides.

Join the Cambridge Phil and Tim Redmond for this year's Family Concert and, who knows, you might even get to conduct the orchestra yourself!

“I'd like to thank you wholeheartedly for yet another FANTASTIC + WONDERFUL family concert this afternoon! Just wish it could go on for longer!” Audience member

“I would teach children music, physics and philosophy; but most importantly music” Plato

Saturday 11th March 2017 − 8pm King’s College Chapel, Cambridge
JANÁČEK: Sinfonietta
BRAHMS: A German Requiem
Soloists: Linda Richardson (Soprano), Nicholas Garrett (Baritone)

The musical seeds for Brahms’s German Requiem were sown over nearly 15 years. The first notes were written as far back as 1854 when the composer was just 21 years old, but it was the death of Robert Schumann in 1856 and of his mother in 1865 that led Brahms to write the work that would become his first international calling card. Rather than setting the Latin Mass, the composer chose texts from the Lutheran bible – hence the ‘German’ of the title – though Brahms said that A Human Requiem would perhaps be a more appropriate title.

The concert opens with Janáček’s blazingly brilliant Sinfonietta. A dozen trumpets sound a thrilling and awe-inspiring fanfare that will mark, coincidentally, 130 years of concerts by the Cambridge Philharmonic in King’s College Chapel.

“It is not hard to compose, but what is fabulously hard is to leave the superfluous notes under the table.” Johannes Brahms

“The Cambridge Philharmonic chorus were on splendid form.” Cambridgeshire Pride

Saturday 20th May 2017 − 7.30pm West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge
ADÈS: America: A Prophecy
ADAMS: The Transmigration of Souls
IVES: Symphony No. 2
Soloist: Bianca Andrew (Mezzo soprano)

Commissioned in 1999 by the New York Philharmonic to write a work for the new millennium, Thomas Adès found inspiration in the music and events of 500 years earlier, notably the 16th century Mayan people and their fate at the hands of the Spanish conquistadores.

John Adams’s work of two years later was commissioned by the same orchestra but under very different circumstances. Using recorded testimony from people personally affected by the events of 9/11 Adams weaves their voices into his profoundly moving and beautiful choral work On The Transmigration of Souls.

Both Adès and Adams have acknowledged the influence of that great American master, Charles Ives, whose Second Symphony of 1901 was belatedly premiered and championed by Leonard Bernstein in the 1950s. Masterfully combining everything from Beethoven’s Fifth to America the Beautiful into a joyous and triumphant whole, Ives takes the listener on an extraordinary journey through a broad musical landscape.

“He has outgrown his status as the wunderkind of a vibrant British scene and become one of the most imposing figures in contemporary music.” The New Yorker on Thomas Adès

“His music has all the freshness of a naïve American wandering in the grand palaces of Europe.” Leonard Bernstein on Charles Ives

Saturday 8th July 2017 − 7.30pm Ely Cathedral
An Alpine Symphony
PARRY (arr. Jacob): I Was Glad
ELGAR: The Spirit of England
STRAUSS: An Alpine Symphony
Soloist: Stephanie Corley (Soprano)

2017 marks the centenary of Elgar’s The Spirit of England. Deeply affected by the suffering of the First World War, Elgar set verses from a collection by the war poet Laurence Binyon in a style far from the pomp and circumstance of his celebrated marches. At around the time Elgar was beginning work on what would be his final choral work, Strauss was putting the finishing touches to what turned out to be his last orchestral tone poem. The Alpine Symphony describes, from sunrise to sunset, the breathtaking scenery in which Strauss and Mahler used to walk together. Scored for a vast orchestra – including 20 horns, 8 timpani and a set of cowbells – it is work perfectly suited to the imposing grandeur of Ely Cathedral.

“The first English progressive” Strauss on Elgar

“The choir and orchestra gave their very best in a performance of outstanding fervour, intensity and technical command.” Cambridge News