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Concert Programme for the 2017-2018 season

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Saturday 7th October 2017 − 7.30pm Emmanuel United Reformed Church, Cambridge
ROSSINI: Petite Messe Solennelle
Soloists: Clare Tunney (Soprano), Hannah Bennett (Alto), Alexander Aldren (Tenor), Richard Walshe (Bass)
There is an open rehearsal for this concert on Saturday 23 September from 2.30-5.30pm at Emmanuel United Reformed Church. For more details see here.

By the age of 37, Rossini’s 40 operas had made him a wealthy man. William Tell was to be his last, after which he left his adopted France for Italy all-but retiring from composing. However, after a long illness he returned to Paris – and to music – writing many light-hearted vignettes and salon pieces, the greatest of which is the Petite messe solennelle. Rossini described it as ‘the last mortal sin of my old age’.

Packed with stunning melodies and sumptuous harmony, this delightful work is a perfect start to the season. And you are invited to experience the piece close-up at an open rehearsal on Saturday 23 September. Here you will be able to join the Philharmonic Chorus and conductor Timothy Redmond for the afternoon and work in detail on this extraordinary music.

The soloists are supported by the Josephine Baker Trust.

“The language of music is common to all generations and nations; it is understood by everybody, since it is understood with the heart.” Gioacchino Rossini

Related links: Poster (PDF 360 kB); Poster (JPEG 143 kB); Programme (PDF 848 kB)
Saturday 4th November 2017 − 7.30pm West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge
Darkness to Light
RACHMANINOV: The Isle of the Dead
BRITTEN: Violin Concerto − Soloist: Matthew Trusler
DVOŘÁK: Symphony No 7

The programme begins with one of the great tone poems of the 20th century. Inspired by Böcklin’s iconic painting, Rachmaninov’s dark, brooding music conjures up the stroke of oars in the water and a slow funereal journey that gradually builds to a huge orchestral climax.

Matthew Trusler’s virtuosic playing has won him acclaim throughout the world. Following his unforgettable performance of Shostakovich last year, he returns to the Cambridge Phil with Britten’s haunting Violin Concerto, a work composed in Canada, premiered in New York and imbued with an anger and sadness at the Spanish Civil War.

When Dvořák wrote his Seventh Symphony he intended the piece to ‘stir the world’. Commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Society and first performed in London under the composer’s own baton, it is arguably Dvořák’s finest work.

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

Related links: Poster (PDF 261 kB); Poster (JPEG 229 kB); Programme (PDF 809 kB)
Saturday 16th December 2017 − 7.30pm West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge
TCHAIKOVSKY: Eugene Onegin − Opera-in-Concert
Soloists: Julien Van Mellaerts (Onegin), Katherine Broderick (Tatyana), Nicky Spence (Lensky), Bethan Langford (Olga), Yvonne Howard (Larina), Fiona Kimm (Filippyevna), Mark Wilde (M. Triquet), Matthew Hargreaves (Prince Gremin / Zaretsky)

Tchaikovsky’s most famous opera, a setting of Pushkin’s timeless verse novel, is a deeply moving tale of love, rejection, jealousy and loss. Tatyana, a country girl, falls for the dashing society bachelor, Onegin, pouring out her love for him in an impassioned letter. Onegin’s cold response leads to a tragic chain of events that affects all those closest to him.

Julien Van Mellaerts and Katherine Broderick, both Kathleen Ferrier Award-winners, lead a stellar cast of international soloists

Related links: Press release; Poster (PDF 569 kB); Poster (JPEG 590 kB); Programme (PDF 2 MB); Hunts Post Review
Saturday 13th January 2018 − 2pm and 4pm West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge
Tim and Tom’s Symphonic Adventure
Presenter: Tom Redmond

For this year’s Philharmonic Family Concert, conductor Tim Redmond is joined on stage by his brother Tom. Together, they find an old chest full of mysterious objects which take them on some unexpected musical adventures! With works by Mozart, Wagner, John Williams (and lots more besides) you can look forward to an action-packed hour of musical entertainment.

“If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.” Albert Einstein

Related links: Poster (PDF 277 kB); Poster (JPEG 419 kB); Programme (PDF 400 kB)
Saturday 17th March 2018 − 7.30pm West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge
French Connections
VARÈSE: Ionisation (A free pre-concert talk at 6.45pm will include a performance of Ionisation for thirteen percussionists, conducted by Finan Jones.)
STRAVINSKY: Symphony of Psalms
POULENC: Concerto for Two Pianos − Soloists: Nicolae Mihaila, Thibault Charrin
RAVEL: Daphnis and Chloé Suite No 2
POULENC: Stabat Mater − Soloist: Margo Arsane (Soprano)

Paris entre-deux-guerres played host to the some of the greatest creative geniuses who ever lived. Throughout the 1920s and 30s, in the salons and concert halls of the French capital, Gershwin and Copland rubbed shoulders with Picasso and Chagall, Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway, Coco Chanel and Nina Ricci. The music of the time was as varied as it was brilliant. In this concert, Stravinsky’s austerely beautiful Symphony of Psalms contrasts with the unabashedly lush sound world of Francis Poulenc.

“My music is my portrait.” Francis Poulenc

“This music is very, very French.” Stravinsky on Poulenc

Related links: Poster (PDF 714 kB); Poster (JPEG 394 kB); Programme (PDF 2 MB); Cambridge Independent Review
Sunday 20th May 2018 − 7.30pm West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge
BERNSTEIN: Symphonic Suite: On the Waterfront
WALTON: Viola Concerto − Soloist: Timothy Ridout
ELGAR: Enigma Variations

2018 marks the centenary of Leonard Bernstein, perhaps the most celebrated of all 20th century musicians: composer, conductor, pianist and educator, Bernstein’s legacy is extraordinary. Though he wrote so many phenomenal stage works – West Side Story, On the Town and Candide among them – Elia Kazan’s 1954 film On the Waterfront was the only movie Bernstein ever scored.

Composed when he was only 26, Walton wrote his Viola Concerto for Lionel Tertis at the suggestion of Sir Thomas Beecham. With its poignantly beautiful opening and thrilling scherzo, the work quickly became one of the central works of the viola repertoire. Timothy Ridout, first-ever British winner of the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition, is the soloist.

It was at a performance of his viola concerto in 1932 that Walton met Elgar for the only time, 33 years after the Enigma Variations first burst into the world and changed English music forever.

“Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable.” Leonard Bernstein

Related links: Poster (PDF 250 kB); Poster (JPEG 107 kB); Programme (PDF 2 MB)
Saturday 7th July 2018 − 7.30pm Ely Cathedral
MAHLER: Symphony No 8
Soloists: Judith Howarth (Soprano), Kirstin Sharpin (Soprano), Paula Sides (Soprano), Heather Shipp (Mezzo Soprano), Madeleine Shaw (Mezzo Soprano), Daniel Norman (Tenor), Michael Druiett (Baritone), Julian Close (Bass)
With the Norwich Philharmonic Chorus, Irish Doctors Choir, St Catharine’s Girls’ Choir and Sawston Village College Choir

Mahler described his mighty Eighth Symphony as ‘a gift to the whole nation’. Whilst its nickname ‘Symphony of a Thousand’ might be an exaggeration, with eight soloists, several choirs and a truly enormous orchestra, it’s not too far off the mark. In the summer of 1906, Mahler was concerned that his creative powers were failing him. He decided to rest from his usual composing routine, but on his first day of holiday, ‘the Spiritus Creator took hold of me and shook me and drove me on for the next eight weeks until my greatest work was done.’ Based on the Latin hymn ‘Veni Creator Spiritus’ and the final part of Goethe’s Faust, this is a celebration of life, love and the creative spirit.

“Try to imagine the whole universe beginning to ring and resound. There are no longer human voices, but planets and suns revolving.” Gustav Mahler

Related links: Press release; Poster (PDF 578 kB); Poster (JPEG 627 kB); Programme (PDF 2 MB)