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Concert Programme for the 2013-2014 season

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Sunday 20th October 2013 − 7.30pm West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge
BRITTEN: Peter Grimes: Four Sea Interludes
PROKOFIEV: Violin Concerto No. 2 − Soloist: Matthew Trusler
SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony No. 5

When Shostakovich’s fifth symphony was premiered in 1937, the Leningrad public wept openly during the slow movement. At the end they rose to their feet and cheered for almost as long as the symphony had lasted. Stalin’s terror was at its height, and the Soviet audience recognized that in Shostakovich’s symphony someone was speaking out for them at last. But the music didn’t just resonate with the Russian soul – Shostakovich’s Fifth quickly established itself as one of the great works of the twentieth century.

Prokofiev’s sumptuous second concerto dates from 1935 and was composed in a style designed to appeal to the widest possible audience. To play it, we are thrilled to welcome back the phenomenal violinist Matthew Trusler, whose career since his last appearance with the Cambridge Philharmonic has taken him all over the world.

The concert begins with Britten's wonderfully evocative Four Sea Interludes – a tantalising foretaste of the opera Peter Grimes, which we perform in its entirety in December.

“I think it is clear to everyone what happens in the Fifth. The rejoicing is forced, created under threat. It’s as if someone were beating you with a stick and saying, ‘Your business is rejoicing, your business is rejoicing.’” attributed to Shostakovich

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

Related links: Programme (PDF 1 MB); Local Secrets Review
Saturday 9th November 2013 − 6.00pm Emmanuel United Reformed Church, Cambridge
BACH: Toccata in F Major BWV 540
FAURÉ: Cantique de Jean Racine
BACH: Chaconne BWV 1004
FAURÉ: Requiem
Soloists: Steve Bingham (Violin), Alex Berry (Organ), Emily Vine (Soprano), Sam Queen (Baritone)

Fauré began his Requiem in 1887, solely, as he put it “for pleasure, if I may call it that,” though it was likely he intended it as a musical tribute to his father, who had died two years earlier. After years of playing the organ for funeral services, which he felt could be overly theatrical and unnecessarily dramatic, he revelled in the chance to write instead a peaceful reflection on mortality. In the words of the composer: “It has been said that my Requiem does not express the fear of death and someone has called it a lullaby of death. But it is thus that I see death: as a happy deliverance, an aspiration towards happiness above, rather than as a painful experience.”

Bach’s D minor Chaconne has been described by some as a requiem to his first wife, who died suddenly in May 1720. From just the four strings of the solo violin, Bach conjures every possible human emotion in a masterclass of compositional brilliance. It is the perfect work to showcase the talents of Steve Bingham, the exceptionally talented leader of the Cambridge Philharmonic.

“In Bach the vital cells of music are united as the world is in God.” Gustav Mahler

“Steve Bingham – this extraordinary performer.” The Independent

Related link: Programme (PDF 1 MB)
Sunday 15th December 2013 − 7.30pm West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge
BRITTEN: Peter Grimes
Soloists: Daniel Norman (Peter Grimes), Elisabeth Meister (Ellen Orford), Mark Holland (Captain Balstrode), Yvonne Howard (Auntie), Kristy Swift (First Niece), Christina Haldane (Second Niece), Jeffrey Stewart (Bob Boles), John Molloy (Swallow), Jean Rigby (Mrs Sedley), Ted Schmitz (Rev. Horace Adams), Oliver Dunn (Ned Keene), Simon Wilding (Hobson)

Peter Grimes is a fisherman; an outsider in a close-knit community of misfits. When his young apprentice dies “in accidental circumstances”, the fact that a court clears him of guilt does not stop the rumours. Britten’s searing masterpiece pits the individual against society and leaves the audience to decide the true character of the opera’s eponymous anti-hero.

Grimes not only launched Britten’s international career, it lit the blue touch-paper for a renaissance of British opera, the effects of which are still being felt nearly seventy years after the work’s premiere.

An international cast of stunning soloists is led by Daniel Norman, who electrified Cambridge audiences as Candide in 2011, and whose latest disc of Britten songs is released this autumn.

“I hear those voices that will not be drowned.” Peter Grimes

“A sterling performance by Daniel Norman in the title role.” Daily Telegraph

Related links: Press release; Poster (PDF 277 kB); Programme (PDF 1 MB); Local Secrets Review
Saturday 11th January 2014 − 2.00pm and 4.00pm West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge
Family Concert
ASH: Music from The Golden Ticket
MINCHIN: Music from Matilda
PATTERSON: Little Red Riding Hood
Presenter: Chris Jarvis

Once upon a time… Four of the most magical words in the English language! But what happens when you add music to a story? We’ll be finding out when some of Roald Dahl’s most famous texts are set to music. With the kind permission of the Roald Dahl Estate, you’ll hear Paul Patterson’s fantastic setting of Little Red Riding Hood, not to mention music from Peter Ash’s operatic version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Tim Minchin’s record-breaking West End musical Matilda. Expect more surprises – and of course, Cambridge Phil favourite, Chris Jarvis!

“Well done and thank you for yesterday – it was so much fun. Everyone I know who came along to watch loved it and said it was the best children’s concert ever!” Audience member

“A little magic can take you a long way.” Roald Dah

Related link: Programme (PDF 376 kB)
Saturday 15th March 2014 − 7.30pm West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge
MAHLER: Symphony No. 3
Soloist: Sarah Castle (Mezzo Soprano)
with St Catharine’s Girls Choir and King’s Junior Voices

In his third symphony, perhaps more than in any other work, Mahler came close to fulfilling his own dictum that “the symphony must be like the world. It must encompass everything.” Never before or since has such an almighty symphonic work been written: the first movement alone lasts as long as the Fifth Symphony of Beethoven!

With a vast orchestra at his disposal and profoundly inspired by his love of nature, Mahler was intent on capturing everything around him in sound – so much so that when the conductor Bruno Walter visited the composer at his summer retreat and looked up at the spectacular mountain vista, Mahler responded: “No use looking up there, that’s all been composed by me.”

This will be a rare chance to hear Mahler’s stunning symphony in Cambridge and promises to be a highlight of the season.

“It’s all very well, but you can’t call that a symphony.” William Walton

“Mr Redmond clearly understood what Mahler was getting at … this whole performance came across as one of the high-points in the Phil’s long history.” Cambridgeshire Pride

Related links: Poster (PDF 194 kB); Programme (PDF 721 kB); Review; Local Secrets Review
Saturday 3rd May 2014 − 7.30pm West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge
HAYDN: Die Schöpfung (The Creation)
Soloists: Sofia Larsson (Soprano), Nicholas Scott (Tenor), Lancelot Nomura (Bass baritone)

Whilst visiting England between 1791 and1795, Haydn was completely overwhelmed by his first experiences of hearing Handel’s oratorios. His response to was to embark on a choral work of his own, one that took him longer to compose than anything else he wrote: “I spent much time over it because I expect it to last for a long time,” he explained.

Taking texts selected from the book of Psalms and Milton’s Paradise Lost, in a version that had originally been intended for Handel, Haydn had the English words translated into German and set both languages simultaneously. Hundreds of people gathered in the street to hear the first private performance in Vienna in 1798 and the work’s public premiere was sold out far in advance.

The Creation is a true work of the Enlightenment in which science and religion sit happily side by side and Haydn’s inspired music depicts both the majesty of the universe and the mystery of the Divine.

“I was never so devout as when I was at work on The Creation; I fell on my knees each day and begged God to give me the strength to finish the work.” Haydn

“The big pleasure of the evening rests with the conductor Timothy Redmond.” The Times

Related link: Programme (PDF 1 MB)
Saturday 5th July 2014 − 7.30pm Ely Cathedral
BERLIOZ: Grande Messe des Morts
Soloist: Bonaventura Bottone (Tenor)
With the Cambridge and Norwich Philharmonic Choruses

When, in 1831, Berlioz visited St Peter’s in Rome, he was singularly unimpressed by the fact that the music in that vast space was provided by just 18 singers and an organ on wheels! Six years later, when he was approached to write a grand Requiem, he leapt at the chance to show the world just how music should sound in such an acoustic.

“The text of the Requiem was a quarry that I had long coveted,” wrote Berlioz. “Now at last it was mine, and I fell upon it with a kind of fury. My brain felt as though it would explode with the pressure of ideas.” To do justice to the text, he assembled a spectacular array of musical forces and created one of music’s truly individual masterpieces.

Over a hundred instrumentalists – including massed wind and brass, a dozen timpani and four off-stage bands – are joined by a choir of two hundred for the final concert of the season and a work perfectly suited to the grandeur of Ely Cathedral.

“The audience was left spellbound as all sections of the orchestra brought this amazing work alive … [the Berlioz] was an amazing and unforgettable experience.” Local Secrets

“If I were threatened with the destruction of the whole of my works save one, I should crave mercy for the Messe des Morts.” Berlioz

Related links: Press release; Poster (PDF 735 kB); Programme (PDF 1 MB)