Concerts

NEXT CONCERT – 27th Jauary 2018: 7.30pm at the Dolphin Centre 01325 406000

Programme for Summer Concert 15th July 2017

Programme notes  by Helen Devonshire

 

1. Hungarian March by Hector Berlioz (arranged by KW Rokos)

Berlioz was a French composer (1803-1869) who was drawn to Goethe’s play Faust, and at the age of 24 he began a musical composition based on it – The Damnation of Faust. This march was not originally intended for that opera; it was composed one night when Berlioz was on a concert tour in central Europe and it was specifically for a performance in Budapest. Berlioz had been told that success in Hungary would be certain if he composed a work based on one of the country’s national tunes.

The piece was so successful there that Berlioz could not resist using the tune again so he put it in The Damnation of Faust. The Faust legend is not set in Hungary but, at the beginning of the piece, Berlioz brazenly places Faust ‘on a Hungarian plain’ so he has an excuse to include this march.

 

2. Czech Rustic Dance by Bedrich Smetana (arranged by CP Arnell and KW Rokos)

This dance is from the opera The Bartered Bride – a light, romantic comedy first performed in 1866. Smetana (1824-1884) lived and worked in Bohemia during a time when it was under Austro-Hungarian rule. His work is closely tied to music of the region, particularly in this opera: Act I concludes with a festive polka danced by the villagers; and Act II contains this famous and fiery authentic Czech Rustic Dance.

Austria’s cultural influence over the region ensured the use of Viennese Classicism in music, so Smetana’s work was heavily influenced by Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. But he was also responsible for bringing Bohemian folk music to the attention of the Western musical world.

 

3. Suite in E Flat by Gustav Holst (transcribed for orchestra by Gordon Jacob)

I Chaconne. II Intermezzo. III March

English composer and music teacher Holst (1874-1934) was well known for his orchestration skills. His music combines an international flavour with English Romanticism. This composition starts with the graceful Spanish-named dance ‘Chaconne’ a melody that makes use of the entire orchestra.

The theme starts in the lower strings and is picked up and embellished by the upper brass, then the woodwind. The original theme is followed by running scales in the woodwind supported by short, punchy phrases in the percussion and brass. In the next two movements, the Intermezzo has a sprightly opening melody that expands with Holst’s trademark use of folk music; that motif is swapped between clarinet and trumpet.

Guests: North East Recorder Orchestra – conducted by John Hawkes

4. Titanic Medley by James Horner (arranged by John Moss)

Take Her to Sea, Mr Murdoch; Never an Absolution; Southampton; Hard to Starboard; My Heart Will Go On

This medley of music is from the 1997 hit film Titanic and it tells the saga of the ship’s first and only voyage in 1912. Born in Los Angeles in 1953, Horner won two Oscars for his work on James Cameron’s three-hour epic Titanic. In addition to the inevitable destruction of the ship in this film, there is a tale of love and loss in the romance between upper-class passenger Rose and drifter Jack Dawson. Horner’s music focuses on sounds reminiscent of Jack’s Irish background.

As the ship moves off triumphantly, the music’s alternating time signature is slightly unsettling and uneven until the ill-fated liner glides sedately into the Atlantic Ocean. The music portrays a huge range of emotions from the celebratory launch through to the panic that ensues as danger emerges from the darkness and when disaster strikes – all while the love story is going on.

Even after 20 years, this film still has one of the best-selling orchestral soundtracks.

5. Overture to The Marriage of Figaro by WA Mozart

The Marriage of Figaro is a comic opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), with an Italian libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte, based on Pierre Beaumarchais’ 1778 stage comedy Le Mariage de Figaro. Beaumarchais’ play was at first banned in Mozart’s home city of Vienna as its anti-aristocratic overtones were considered dangerous.

To make the opera pleasing to the Imperial court, da Ponte removed all the play’s most provoking political references, and its more scandalous content had to be toned down.

The story is of deceit, confusion, betrayal and ultimately celebration. The effervescent overture introduces themes of the opera with secretive undertones and private assignations that burst in on the more formal entertainment and preparations for the nuptials. The opera and overture are hectic and fun with a brisk theme that appears frequently.

6. Sir Bob and Sir Ted Concert Overture by Gregory Pullen

Commissioned by the Cobweb Orchestra, this piece uses themes from ‘Bobby Shafto’s gone to sea’, said to be written about 18th-century gentleman Robert Shafto who lived near Spennymoor in County Durham. Even if it wasn’t written for him, Shafto chose it as an electioneering song and he became an MP for Durham City from 1760 to 1768.

The ‘Ted’ of the title is Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934) whose work included orchestral, religious and choral music all steeped in idyllic and patriotic 19th-century Romanticism.

And this piece combines tunes from the sea-faring song with English pastoral musical scenes.

 

7. John Henry – A Railroad Ballad for Orchestra by Aaron Copland

John Henry was an American folk hero who, legend has it, in the 1870s built the mighty railroads that span the United States. He may or may not have been a real person, but the name became a working-class icon as the account of his battle against new railroad technology developed mythic proportions. The ballad records Henry’s contest with a steam-powered hammer, in which he crushed more rock than the machine but died ‘with his hammer in his hand’. John Henry became a symbol of man’s doomed struggle against the machine and of the black man’s struggle with the white man.

Copland wrote this piece in 1940 and it captures the pioneering flavour of wide-open spaces and 19th-century Americana in the music and includes the sound of plaintive train whistles as if heard across vast landscapes.

As the music builds in intensity and volume, there is a driving mechanical rhythm underneath it all – courtesy of the cello section. And the shrill yet melancholy whistles from other orchestra sections seem to signify the inescapable approach of modern steam-driven technology.

Guests: North East Recorder Orchestra – conducted by John Hawkes

8. Marche Slave by Tchaikovsky (arranged by Geoffrey Tomlinson)

This march was written when Serbia and the Ottoman Empire were engaged in the Serbo-Turkish War (1876-1878) and evokes tensions in the region at that time. The ‘Marche Slave’, sometimes published as the ‘Slavonic March’, was first performed in Moscow in November 1876.

This piece uses rousing patriotic music based on Serbian and Russian folk themes and popular tunes. The composer uses ‘God Save the Czar’ (the Russian national anthem also used in his ‘1812 Overture’) to signify the Russians arriving to support the Serbian allies. In a later section, the music describes Russia and the Serbs triumphantly overthrowing their oppressors.

The march includes several distinct moods: bright, festive passages contrast with ominous ones. In several parts of the piece, different orchestra sections play different melodies, creating a layered effect as the march progresses to its emotional and unequivocal finale.

 

9. Champagne Polka by Johann Strauss

This Johann Strauss (1825-1899) was the first son of Johann Strauss the Elder, who did not want his child to have a career in music. So, Johann junior studied the violin in secret and, after his father died in 1849, took an orchestra on a very successful tour that included visits to Russia and England.

In this polka, a clipped tattoo beats out the start of the lively dance, followed by wind instruments belting out the first theme, backed by the rhythmic percussion and fizzing pizzicato on the strings.

The brass and snare drum bubble up at the end of each phrase. The themes are passed round sociably to all sections as the music gathers pace. The triangle and cymbals add sparkle throughout the piece and there’s the intermittent popping of ‘champagne corks’… which is simulated by the percussion section.

 

10. Two South American Tangos by AG Villoldo and Matos Rodriguez

El Choclo; La Comparsita

Tango is a vibrant, and expressive dance of Latin-American origin for two people, which became popular in the early 20th century. The music features accented notes and rhythms.

The now-popular piece ‘El Choclo’ was premiered in 1903 – although thought to have been composed in 1898 – at an elegant restaurant in Buenos Aires but it had to be referred to in the programme as ‘danza criolla’, because the venue owner did not like tango music. This stately Latin classic, originally for piano or guitar, adapts well to orchestras as the strings’ pizzicato picks out the tempo and the tune soars above.

La Comparsita’ was initially composed as a march by the student Gerardo Hernán Matos Rodríguez around early 1916 for a carnival organised by the Federation of Students of Uruguay. It is the most recorded tango tune in the world but, in any version, it retains the passionate soul of the genre.

Programme for Winter Concert Saturday 28th January 2017

Programme notes  by Helen Devonshire

1. The Barber of Seville Overture By Gioacchino Rossini

By 1812, Rossini had written seven operas and several cantatas and had extensive experience of theatre production. This enabled him to develop the opera form and he is credited with raising the role of an orchestra from support to lead, and placing singers at the service of the music. The Barber of Seville was written in 1816 and broke the rules of the then fashionable opera buffa.

This opera, set in 17th-century Spain, is about intrigue, identity, confusion and comedy and the overture reflects the storyline in some furtive and frantic passages. Originally written in two acts the opera was split into three in the 19th century as theatre trends developed to include elaborate scene changes. The score was reworked extensively and several errors were said to have been introduced by copyists. Also, the role of Rosina was transposed from mezzo-soprano into a soprano range to suit popular lead singers. A definitive version of the score was not established until the1960s. Despite various versions, the opera and its overture are still popular with performers and audiences 200 years after it was written.

2. Villanesca  By Enrique Granados (arranged by David Stone)

This dance is the fourth in a series of 12 Danzas Españolas (Spanish dances) written at the end of 19th century in the Romantic style by Granados (1867-1916). He mainly composed music for piano, but many of his lesser-known songs are critically acclaimed, if less familiar to today’s concert goers. The suite of dances reflects different Spanish landscapes by using folk music from many regions of Spain. Here, the arrangement retains the original piano piece’s sustained base notes and calm and restrained tune of the original rural ceremonial dance.

3. Silver and Gold  By John Hawkes

Silver and Gold’ was written in 2006 as part of a collaboration between the Cobweb Orchestra (eight groups in the North of England) and the Folk Group at the Sage Gateshead. The music is based on two folk tunes, ‘Silver Street Lasses’ and ‘If I had Gold’, and is intended to have a ‘primitive’ feel, especially with use of stones as percussion instruments. After a short introduction, solo violin and descant recorder introduce the lively ‘Silver Street Lasses’. This theme is picked up and almost torn apart in a fast section, after which the music slows to the lyrical ‘If I had Gold’. The first theme returns before the piece ends in an intense crescendo based on the second tune.

Guest Artists

Darlington Community Wind Band – conducted by Edgar Thompson

Star Lake by Eric Ball (arranged by Brian Bowen)

Nightbeat by Harold Walters

4. Symphony Number 1 in C Major Op.21 (two movements: Adagio molto and the Finale) By Ludwig van Beethoven

Beethoven is often seen as the crossover composer from the Classical to Romantic eras. He was influenced by Haydn and Mozart but also worked against tradition. By the mid-1790s, Beethoven had successfully composed in most instrumental forms, except string quartets and symphonies.

When he took up the challenge, the First Symphony revealed greatness to come and it includes many features that became Beethoven’s signature techniques.

The first performance of the first symphony was at the Imperial Theatre in Vienna in 1800. This piece is anchored in traditions of Viennese composition but it is also innovative; the first movement starts slowly and builds with powerful chords and dynamics. The music incorporates accented notes, rhythms and seemingly unrelated decorations. The final movement is heavily influenced by Haydn’s work, and it elegantly draws together the whole symphony’s themes.

INTERVAL

Guest Artists

Darlington Community Wind Band – conducted by Edgar Thompson

Moonlight Serenade by Glenn Miller (arranged by Lorenzo Bocci)

Lord of the Dance by Ronan Hardiman (arranged by Richard Saucedo)

5. Thunder and Lightning Polka  By Johann Strauss (arranged by Harold Perry)

The polka was written by Johann Strauss Junior (1825-1899) and published in 1868. Many members of the Strauss family were prolific writers of waltz music, and Johann Strauss was known as the ‘Waltz King’ but he was also a gifted writer of other forms of dances, from gallops and marches to polkas.

The Strauss family’s music, written to entertain the nobility, was key in changing the image of a polka from an Eastern European peasant social dance to a dance fit for glamorous Viennese ballrooms. This piece is full of stormy energy with cascading runs of notes backed by rowdy contributions from the percussion section. Timpani rolls and crashing cymbals represent the forces of nature as the melody rumbles along in one of the most popular polkas ever written.

6. Beethoven Comes to Tea  By Greg Pullen

This piece was written for the Darlington Orchestra and conductor David Plews. It is inspired by musical structures and themes of composing giant Ludwig van Beethoven – but in a domestic setting. It draws on many of the original composer’s recognisable traits. Some of Beethoven’s most familiar themes are primarily rhythmic rather than melodic consisting of runs of notes, chords and silences. The informal title in no way trivialises Beethoven’s work but instead the piece is awash with respectful references, including a humorous nod to Beethoven 5.

7. A Supper with Suppé  By Camillo Morena

This medley is based on a selection of work by Austrian composer Franz von Suppé (1819-1895). He was famous for writing light operas and, along with several other composers in this programme, he greatly influenced Austrian and European music well into the 20th century.

Suppé began studying medicine before deciding on music as a profession – and he studied work from the era of Viennese Classicism. Suppé wrote comic operas and his most successful works were produced in Vienna for many years; they include Fatinitza (1876), which is the first item in this concert medley, and Boccaccio (1879), which also features in the piece. He also wrote choral works, a symphony, and string quartets, and composed about 30 operettas and 180 farces, ballets, and other stage works.

Although most of Suppé’s operas disappeared into relative obscurity, the overtures – including Poet and Peasant, also featured in this medley – became popular in their own right.

8. Selections from Les Misérables By Claude-Michel Schönberg (arranged by Bob Lowden); Lyrics by Herbert Krezmer

Based on the novel by Victor Hugo, Les Misérables was originally developed for the stage by Schönberg and Alain Boublil. After years of work and revisions on the piece, a meeting in 1983 with the hugely successful theatre producer Cameron Mackintosh led to the creation of a more viable version of the musical for production in theatres.

The first night at London’s Barbican Theatre in 1985 was a hit with audiences but not the critics. However, audience opinion prevailed because the two-month run sold out within days. The show then transferred to the West End and became the sensation we now know. It has been produced in 38 countries, translated into 21 languages and been seen by more than 50 million people.

This is a saga of hardship, friendship and the search for peace and social justice, but not necessarily in that order. The story is set just after the French Revolution and it recounts the life of Jean Valjean, imprisoned for 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread, who is then relentlessly pursued by the fanatic police inspector Javert for breaking his parole.

The epic chase is ultimately tragic but along the way there are some of the most memorable songs written for the stage. This medley includes: At the end of the day; I dreamed a dream; Master of the house; On my own; and, of course, Do you hear the people sing?

Orchestra players

Conductor: David Plews

Violin: Angie Binns (leader): James Armitage, Bill Brown, Paul Donovan, Su Evans, Dennis Grieve, Bethan Hacker, Rebecca Hall, Edwin Hird, Alison Hoggarth, Paul Hughes, Kirsty Jackson, Helen Lillburn, Claire Llewelyn, Fiona McKim, Vanessa Purdy, Marianne Pybus, Nicola Robbins, Norma Rogers, Jeffrey Spencer, David Wood

Viola: Dorothy Bleasdale, George McQueen, Winnifred McQueen, Roger Ohr, David Turner

Cello: Vicky Bain, Amelia Bryant, Edwina Bryant, Helen Devonshire, Rebecca Gibb, Ben Hacker, Sam Wilkinson

Double Bass: Stephen Kirby, Wendy Miller

Flute: Hayley Jenkins, Vera Oates, Clare Pinchin, Ann Walsby

Oboe:  Anita Arris, John Hawkes

Clarinet/Saxophone: Mike Frankton, Clair Hacker, Charles Howells, Anna Jackson, Sarah Plews

Bassoon: Stephen Bagot, Deborah Greenwood

Horn: Howard Gilbert, Allison Hurrell

Trumpet:Michael Fairless, Jim Hall

Trombone: Michael Day, Tessa Fenoughty, Don Jones

Percussion:Dan Kolb

Programme for Summer Concert on 2nd July 2016.
Programme notes by Helen Devonshire

1. ‘The Music Box Polka’ by Ronald Binge

Binge was born in Derby in 1910 and at the age of 17 took a job as an organist at the local cinema. Accompanying a variety of silent films meant he had to play everything from symphonies to foxtrots. He progressed to playing in an orchestra on the pier at Great Yarmouth then moved to London. There, in 1935, Binge teamed up with conductor Mantovani and worked on all the orchestral arrangements. During the Second World War, Binge joined the Royal Air Force and also began to learn German. After the war, when not allowed to visit Germany he went to Switzerland where he wrote Music Box Polka. This light-hearted polka kicks off the programme of dances, marches, overtures and song.

2. ‘Coriolan Overture’ by Ludwig van Beethoven

Beethoven’s Overture (premiered in March 1807) was inspired by Heinrich von Collin’s play Coriolan. It’s a tragic story of conflict, power and revenge. The sonata-allegro-form overture begins darkly, as the strings play an intense unison C answered by an emphatic chord from the orchestra. The strings then take up an agitated figure of repeated notes in four which makes up the main theme.

This music is defiant and unsettling with some inner turmoil. Drama is introduced not only in the music but also in the silences. The overture contrasts dramatic heroic elements with moments of lyrical beauty – it is both menacing and subdued as it peaks then fades towards the end.

3. ‘Summer Suite’ by Kenneth Platts

Prelude – Seascape; Ragtime; Siesta – homage to Gershwin; Rumba Finale

Platts (1946-1989) was a British composer who wrote in an accessible style. He is often classed as a composer of ‘light music’ and he was keen that this piece, like many of his works, was playable by as many different combinations of players in as many different settings as possible.

Summer Suite’ was commissioned by West Sussex Music Centre director Ronald Keates. The Seascape and Siesta rely on an ebb and flow of volume in the music to paint an audible image of lazy days by the sea. The Siesta is a nod to the glamorous musical talents of George Gershwin who is famous for early 20th-century jazz themes. ‘Summer Suite’ has an international flavour, from the English seaside to the European siesta and the rhythmic Rumba of central America.

Special Guests; Hummersknott Academy choirs conducted by Jenny Connor and Mike Fairless

4.Three Celebrated Hungarian Dances’ by Johannes Brahms (arranged by Adolf Schmid)

Brahms, born in 1833, was a German composer and leading musician of the Romantic era. In the early 1860s Brahms made his first visit to Vienna, and in 1863 he was named director of the Singakademie, a choral group, where he concentrated on historical and modern a cappella works.

In 1850 he met Eduard Reményi, a Jewish Hungarian violinist, they travelled and performed together across Europe and during this time Brahms fell in love with Roma (gypsy) music. Their travels inspired him to write a few Hungarian-flavoured dances that were initially to entertain Brahms’ friends. Those friends convinced Brahms to publish the dance music and, following public success, Brahms wrote and published another set. He wrote 21 Hungarian dances in all.

INTERVAL

5. ‘Grand March from Aida’ by Guiseppe Verdi (arranged by David Stone)

During the 1850s, Verdi was establishing a reputation for composing operas with beautiful music and dramatic characters. The opera Aida was commissioned by the Khedive (viceroy) of Egypt to celebrate the opening of Cairo’s Opera House in 1869. Verdi developed a detailed scenario for the story and the poet Antonio Ghislanzoni wrote the verse. The opera finally premiered in Cairo in 1871.

The story is about an Ethiopian princess, hidden identities and ultimately tragic betrayal. But along the way there is the bold uplifting Grand March in which Verdi evokes the grandeur and gravitas of a procession with a cast of elephants, priests, priestesses and hundreds of slaves set against a background of pyramids and temples.

6. ‘Pomp and Circumstance Military March No.5’ Op.39 by Edward Elgar (arranged by Charles Woodhouse)

Born in 1857 in Worcestershire, (died 1934) Elgar was a music professor at Birmingham University from 1905 to 1908. The conductor and composer was well known for his melodic and patriotic music.

Music publishing company Boosey commissioned Elgar to write a set of six marches but by the time he died he’d written only five – the sixth was sketched out. Elgar sold his first two ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ marches to Boosey and both were well received by critics and the public.

Elgar’s ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ pieces have different characters but the format and some themes unite the marches as a collection. He took the title, Pomp and Circumstance, from Shakespeare’s play Othello, in which Othello bids farewell to his soldier’s profession and both the military and regal aspects appear within the marches.

March No.5 had its first public performance on 18 Sept 1930 although probably sketched much earlier. Its first broadcast performance took place on 19 March 1931, by the Shepherds Bush Pavilion Orchestra. This march is in many ways the most sprightly of the set with a brisk six-eight time signature. There is an abrupt change of key in the main theme, which adds variety depth to the tune.

7. ‘Pomp and Circumstance Military March No.4’ Op.39 by Edward Elgar (arranged by Adolf Schmid)

Elgar’s aim with the Pomp and Circumstance collection was to treat the quick march in a symphonic style, in a way similar to how earlier composers had used the minuet, waltz or polka. And Sir Edward Elgar certainly knew how to write and arrange orchestral marches with both dignity and vitality.

March No.4 was completed on 7 June 1907, with its first public performance 24 August 1907. Written and published 23 years before Pomp and Circumstance March No.5, it has a broad lyrical melody and was the first of Elgar’s tunes to be marked ‘nobilmente’ – which means to be played nobly. The main tune is repeated before reaching its rousing finale as Elgar ties the melody and march theme together in the imposing final passage.

Hummersknott Academy choirs

8. ‘King’s Rhapsody Selection’ by Ivor Novello (arranged by Geo. L Zalva)

This musical play King’s Rhapsody was devised, written and composed by Ivor Novello with lyrics by Christopher Hassall, and it was first produced at the Palace Theatre in London on 15 September 1949.

The story takes place in a fictional mid-European country called Murania, with a royal romance, lavish settings, melodious songs and a colourful ballet. It was written when Novello’s popularity was at its peak during a successful run of large-scale and romantic musicals playing to packed theatres.

The play includes lots to entertain Novello’s dedicated theatre-going public; there are birthday celebrations, a betrothal, a revolution and a coronation, all set to music by Novello at the height of his writing powers. The extravagant production requires many players to appear as village peasants, mannequins, serenaders, palace guards and servants, ladies and gentlemen of the court, singers and dancers of the Muranian Royal Ballet Company and coronation dignitaries.

The epic nature of the drama is reflected in grandiose melodies and loads of sweeping strings to reflect the romantic and political intrigues within the tangled story.

9. ‘1812 Overture’ by Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (arranged by Jerry Brubaker)

Russian composer Tchaikovsky was born on 7 May 1840 and died in 1893. In 1863 Tchaikovsky left his day job as a clerk at the Ministry of Justice to devote his life to studying and performing music. In 1866 he became a harmony teacher for the Moscow Conservatory.

On 12 October 1880, Tchaikovsky began composing the ‘1812 Overture’ and completed it six weeks later. This piece was first performed in August 1882 at Moscow’s Arts and Industry Exhibition and it is all about celebrating Russian military power and success.

It commemorates the Russian victory over Napoleon’s Grand Armée commencing at the Battle of Borodino in 1812. The music represents the tensions of war build and builds from a quiet pastoral scene through to military themes played by the brass section and percussion.

The story is of Napoleon’s retreat from Russia and the music references the French national anthem La Marseillaise several times, both advancing and retreating. In the middle of the piece, as the French army gets closer to the Russian city, the French national anthem is heard more prominently. Tchaikovsky represents the French army’s retreat with a series of descending melodies.

Russia’s final victory celebrations are represented by grand and triumphant descending scales representing the peeling of church bells ringing out joyously all over the country, accompanied by blasts of victorious cannons. Tchaikovsky called for the use of real cannons in his original score.

Orchestra players  Conductor:  David Plews

Violin:  Angie Binns (leader), Anna Birtles, Bill Brown, Su Evans, Rebecca Hall, Edwin Hird, Alison Hoggarth, Helen Lillburn, Claire Llewelyn, Alison March, Fiona McKim, Elma Napier, Vanessa Purdy, Marianne Pybus, Nicola Robbins, Norma Rogers, Jeffrey Spencer, Tom Ward, David Wood, Richard Woods

Viola: Dorothy Bleasdale, George McQueen, Winnifred McQueen, Roger Ohr

Cello: Vicky Bain, Amelia Bryant,
Edwina Bryant, Helen Devonshire, David Turner

Double Bass: Stephen Kirby, Wendy Miller

Flute/Saxophone: Vera Oates, Clare Pinchin, Ann Walsby, Judith Weighell

Oboe: John Hawkes, Andrea Pearson

Clarinet/Saxophone: Mike Frankton, Charles Howells, Sarah Plews

Bassoon: Deborah Greenwood

Horn: Howard Gilbert, Allison Hurrell

Trumpet: Michael Fairless, Jim Hall

Trombone/Tuba: Michael Day, Don Jones, Robert Camp

Percussion: Dan Kolb

Programme for Winter Concert on 23rd Jan 2016.
Programme notes by Helen Devonshire

1. ‘Introduction and Fugue’ by Felix Mendelssohn (arranged by AW Benoy)

Felix Mendelssohn was born in 1809 to a wealthy, intellectual family in Hamburg. In 1816, they relocated to Berlin and, while still a teenager, Mendelssohn completed works of great maturity including 12 string symphonies. He was an accomplished organist and was influenced by the traditional ways of writing organ music, including the ‘prelude and fugue’ format. This punchy arrangement of the introduction and fugue uses the complete orchestra at full force.

2. ‘Soirées Musicales – Suite of movements from Rossini’ by Benjamin Britten I. March, II. Canzonetta, III. Tirolese, IV. Bolero, V. Tarantella

Britten composed two sparkling orchestral suites based on themes by Rossini – Soirées musicales and Matineés musicales. They use popular dances and reveal Britten’s witty and inventive orchestration skills. Soirées musicales (premiered in 1937) has five movements: the March is an energetic piece; the Tirolese has the sprightly rhythm of Alpine folk dances; Canzonetta, in contrast, is lilting and tender; the Bolero is a slow-tempo dance in a Spanish style; and the final boisterous dance is, according to some folklore, derived from music that can cure spider bites.

Special guests Darlington SING

Steal Away Traditional gospel song
To Sing by the Fire
choral piece by A Mozart
Lovely Day
Bill Withers
Unst Boat Song
Folk song from the Shetlands
I’ll Fly Away
Traditional gospel song

3. ‘Symphony No.4 third movement’ by Brahms (arranged by Richard Ling)

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was a German composer and pianist, and a leading musician of the Romantic period. Born in Hamburg (as was Mendelssohn), Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna where he achieved considerable popularity and influence. His music is rooted in the structures and techniques of the Baroque and Classical masters, but Brahms is often also considered an innovator.

This arrangement of the third movement keeps up the pace, and the piece highlights Brahms’ skill of counterpoint. It sizzles with energy and grandeur.

4. ‘A tribute to Lerner and Loewe’ (arranged by Steven L Rosenhaus)

With a Little Bit of Luck, Wouldn’t It Be Loverly, Camelot, The Lusty Month of May, The Night They Invented Champagne

In 1942, Frederick Loewe met Alan Jay Lerner at a nightclub in New York, which was frequented by theatre stars, producers, managers and directors. Lerner and Loewe joined forces to create many enduringly popular musicals.

This orchestral medley of songs celebrates one of Broadway’s most prolific writing partnerships, with two tunes from My Fair Lady (written in 1956); two from their last successful collaboration, Camelot (1960) based on the story of King Arthur; and the final song is from Gigi, written in 1958.

INTERVAL

5. March from the opera ‘The Love for Three Oranges’ by Serge Prokofiev (arranged by Harold Perry)

The Love for Three Oranges by Prokofiev (1891-1953) might not be well known, but the march is famous. The opera’s story is of a prince cursed by a witch to seek and fall in love with three oranges. He finds and opens them in turn. Each contains a maiden. The first two die of thirst; the third is rescued with a drink from the prince.

The opera is a comical work, and Prokofiev uses humour and colour for the pantomime-like plot. As with several pieces in our programme, the opera had its premiere in America; a version of the opera, sung in French, was performed in Chicago in 1921. In 1924, Prokofiev extracted a six-movement concert suite from the opera music, including this lively march.

6. Three dances from ‘Façade’ by William Walton (arranged by Walter Goehr)
Polka, Tango, Popular Song (tap dance)

Occupying an important historical position between his better-known colleagues Ralph Vaughan Williams and Benjamin Britten, William Walton (1902-1983) was a prolific composer. Walton enjoyed the patronage of the influential and affluent Sitwell family, and they enabled him to break into the London music scene.

By 1922 his chamber piece Façade was popular with the concert-going public. It was initially devised as ‘An Entertainment’ in the form of narration for 29 of Edith Sitwell’s poems accompanied by a small instrumental ensemble. Much like his contemporary Prokofiev, Walton was at heart an expressive, lyric composer. His music is a clever combination of traditional and experimental.

Darlington SING

Siahamba Traditional South African song
Heron Home
Contemporary folk song by Karine Polwart
As the Deer
Methodist hymn by Martin J Nystrom
Tula
Traditional South African lullaby
Good night, Sweetheart
By Calvin Carter and James ‘Pookie’ Hudson

7. ‘Two Pieces – No.1 Chanson Triste; No.2 Humoresque’ by Tchaikovsky

Pyotr Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) worked at the Russian Ministry of Justice from 1859, but longed for a career in music. He began to study harmony in 1861 and enrolled at the St Petersburg Conservatory the following year.

This composer used lots of popular themes in his music. These two pieces demonstrate a range of light and dark harmonies in a traditional format, and his music has always been popular even if not as critically acclaimed as that of some of his contemporaries, including Wagner and Bruckner.

Eventually, the melodic charm and popularity of Tchaikovsky’s compositions paid off. In 1866, the composer relocated to Moscow to take up a professorship of harmony at the new conservatory.

8. ‘Andrew Lloyd Webber Symphonic Reflections’ (arranged by Bruce Chase)
Superstar
, Don’t Cry For Me Argentina, King Herod’s Song, Memory

Lloyd Webber’s musicals written with Tim Rice in the 1970s and 1980s are still extremely popular in performance.

This medley includes tunes from three hugely successful musicals including Evita (produced in London, 1978). The show’s song ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’ received three 1977/1978 Ivor Novello Awards for Most Performed Song, Best Song, and International Hit of the Year. Jesus Christ Superstar (Broadway, 1971) was the first Rice/Lloyd Webber work to be professionally staged. Cats (Broadway, 1982) is a musical based on Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by TS Eliot. The orchestration here is broad and emotive and gives orchestral instruments the opportunity to ‘sing’, particularly in the poignant and plaintive Memory.

9. ‘Yesterday’ by Paul McCartney (arranged by Lizelle Kirby)

Written by Paul McCartney, Yesterday is one of the most frequently covered songs in history, according to Guinness World Records.

For the original track by The Beatles, McCartney recorded his guitar and vocals simultaneously in just two takes. McCartney considered having the BBC Radiophonic Workshop perform an electronic version of the song on the recording. Then there was an attempt at recording an arrangement of the song with John Lennon playing Hammond organ. Finally, they arranged the tune for guitar and string quartet ? a famous first for The Beatles.

10. ‘Pomp and Circumstance March No.1’ by Edward Elgar (arrangement by Adolf Schmid)

Elgar’s March No. 1 was written in July 1901. It became the first in a series of five marches that Elgar named Pomp and Circumstance, taking the title from a speech in Act 3 of Shakespeare’s Othello.

Large-scale grand tunes were popular and ideally suited to the patriotism and confidence of early 20th-century England. Elgar caught the essence of that military swagger. This march was given its first performance on 19 October 1901 at the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, with the Liverpool Orchestral Society Orchestra conducted by Elgar. The work received great acclaim at the time but even that was surpassed at the London première three days later.

Following Elgar’s first recording of Pomp and Circumstance in 1914, many other conductors have recorded the work, contributing to its continued popularity.

Programme for Summer Concert on 20th June 2015.

1. Hoe­down from ‘Rodeo’ – by Aaron Copland

‘Rodeo’ was written after the success of American composer Copland’s first great western ballet, ‘Billy the Kid’. Originally written for string orchestra, ‘Rodeo’ was later modified for full symphony  orchestra and was premiered in 1942. The ballet score draws heavily on traditional American folk tunes to give a Wild­West flavour. This piece is the last of four dance sections of the ballet and its pace ranges from relative calm with the sound of horses walking, through to them being energetically rounded up. In the ballet, Hoe­down was the finale but here it is a lively introduction to an eclectic programme of early music, pop music, war, harmony, drama, dance and cartoons.

2. Suite No.3 from Handel’s ‘Water Music’ – movements 12­15 (arranged by Andy Jackson)

George Frideric Handel was born in Saxony in 1685 but made his reputation in England as a composer of opera for the London stage, with his first visit to London in 1710. By 1717 he had settled permanently in England when he composed the joyous ‘Water Music’, having been commissioned by George I. The King had requested a concert on the River Thames; he watched from the royal barge as 50 musicians played on barges nearby. The original piece was made up of three orchestral suites. An eyewitness reported an ensemble of flutes, recorders, oboes, bassoons, trumpets, horns, violins, and basses. No mention of the timpani now generally included in performances.

3. Mars: The Bringer of War, from The Planets Op.32 – by Gustav Holst (arranged by Richard Ling)

Mars is the first of seven movements in ‘The Planets Suite’, which Holst began composing in 1914. He finished the suite in 1916 but the first complete public performance did not take place until 1920, conducted by Albert Coates in Queen’s Hall, London. This movement is powerful and menacing. Its unusual 5/4 time signature gives it a slightly unsettling feeling, with an underlying relentless rhythm. Initially, Holst scored most of the work for piano duet. He then scored the suite for a large orchestra, which is the form in which it became enormously popular. Holst’s suite was novel in the early part of the 20th century with its use of irregular themes, possibly influenced by composers such as Stravinsky and Schoenberg.

4. The Dancing Years Selection by Ivor Novello (arranged by Geo L Zalva)

Ivor Novello was an extremely successful British composer/performer/playwright from the 1920s until his death in 1951. ‘The Dancing Years’ (1939) was a musical with book and music by Novello and lyrics by Christopher Hassall. The show was one of the last great London stage hits before the outbreak of World War II. It ran for 187 performances until September of 1939 but was revived three years later and ran for just under 1,000 performances, which was an amazing success. The show’s popularity was helped by its escapist and romantic content. The musical was packed with nostalgia and catchy melodies – many of which will be familiar to audiences today.
5. Toccata and Fugue in D Minor – by Johann Sebastian Bach (arranged by Victor López)

This is probably the most well­known composition for the organ, and the orchestration draws on all the majestic characteristics and grandeur of the original. The two­part musical composition was probably written before 1708, and it starts with a typical approach to a toccata with many fast arpeggios. The fugue presents overlapping repetition of a principal theme in different melodic lines, which was a popular format in the late 1600s and early 1700s. A version of the composition featured in Walt Disney’s animated film Fantasia in 1940.

6. Dances from ‘Danserye’ – by Tielman Susato (arranged by Philip Lane)

Susato was a Flemish instrumentalist and music publisher working in the early­ to mid1550s. He wrote (and published) several books of music; most of the composer’s pieces are dance forms, generally comprising simple but artistic arrangements. This concert includes three movements – La Mourisque, Bergerette, Pavanne: La Battaille – from the suite. ‘La Mourisque’ is a jubilant ceremonial fanfare, and the final “Battle” dance here is set in a bright major key so it is stately rather than violent.

7. (Meet) The Flintstones – by William Hanna, Joseph Barbera and Hoyt Curtin (arranged by Bob Cerulli)

This speedy march, composed in 1961, was first used as the main theme in the third episode of the third series of The Flintstones (1962­1963) replacing the theme tune ‘Rise and Shine’. The original US series ran from 1960 to 1966 with various spin­offs, and it was one of the more musical animated TV shows. Many episodes featured original songs (composed by Hoyt Curtin) or slightly rewritten popular recordings of the day, performed by Fred, Barney, or a special guest star. The original version for this theme tune was recorded by a 22 ­piece jazz band and a five- voice singing group.

8. Thunderbirds March – by Barry Gray (arranged by Richard Ling)

The Thunderbirds TV series was one of the most popular children’s programmes in the 1960s. Barry Gray wrote the brass­dominated theme music specifically for the series in response to Gerry Anderson’s request that the main theme should have a “military feel”. Gray joined Anderson’s company AP Films in 1956 and scored its first marionette puppet television series, The Adventures of Twizzle. He composed themes to all the other “Supermarionation” productions, including Fireball XL5, Stingray, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons and Joe 90. Gray used identifying themes extensively, with each machine in the Thunderbirds television show having its own tune.

9. California Dreamin’ – by John Phillips and Michelle Gilliam (arranged by Willis Schaefer)

This hit by The Mamas & The Papas was written in 1963 when Michelle and John Phillips were living in New York and it was a particularly cold winter, at least by Michelle’s standards because she was from California. In 1966, the song shot into the US Billboard chart’s Top 10. The band became hugely popular by singing beautiful four­part harmonies, which are reflected in this orchestration. With its summery and relaxed sound, California Dreamin’ is a folk­rock song that was slightly unusual for the time because it didn’t have the conventional guitar solo. Instead, the instrumental solo was by an alto flute, which is larger than a regular flute and plays in a lower register. In this version, the familiar solo is shared among most sections but features the alto saxophone and trumpet.

Programme for special guests: The Darlington Clarinet Ensemble

i. Sortie in Eb – by Louis James Alfred Lefébure­Wély (arranged by Christopher Hooker)
ii. Rikudim – by Jan Van der Roost (arranged by Maarten Jense)
iii. Three Dances – by Guy Woolfenden
iv. Two Cinematographic Impressions – by James Rae

Programme for Winter Concert on 24th Jan 2015.

Audience Comments

At this concert we asked our audience to respond to a feedback form.  Below are some typical replies:

Wonderful variety and different musical periods.  Ms S

Lovely programme!   Mrs D

It’s gratifying to know Darlington has so much talent.  Ms W

(I enjoyed) all of it, but Star Wars was best.  Ms C

We thoroughly enjoyed the Iolanthe and the encore!  Mr and Mrs W

Evening and venue most enjoyable!  Good choice of music, lovely atmosphere.  Ms W

Thoroughly enjoyed a new experience – excellent night.  Anon

Friendly faces, interesting descriptions of music, warm welcome, great venue, chilled

atmosphere.  Mr S

Whole thing brilliant – Thank you!  Ms M

Super concert.  Excellent orchestra.  Ms E

1. Prelude from the Te Deum: Marc Antoine Charpentier, arranged by Nigel Wicken

Charpentier composed a large quantity of church music, including six Te Deum settings, although only four of them have survived. It is thought that this composition was written in the late 17th century. In the 20th century, the prelude became familiar to many people as it is the theme music for the European Broadcasting Union – the organisation responsible for the Eurovision Song Contest.

2. Variations on a Shaker Melody: Aaron Copland

The variations use folk music for the basic material and the piece is an excerpt from ‘Appalachian Spring’, which was composed in 1943-44 as a ballet. The original scoring called for a chamber ensemble of 13 instruments. Copland rearranged the ballet work as an orchestral suite, preserving most of the music. The ballet and orchestral work were well received and are generally credited as popularising the composer – especially as ‘Appalachian Spring’ won the Pulitzer Prize in 1945.

3. My Fair Lady: Frederick Loewe, arranged by John Whitney

The medley includes ‘I Could Have Danced All Night’, ‘On the Street Where You Live’, ‘I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face’ and ‘Get Me to the Church on Time’. The great Lerner and Loewe stage show (which made the transfer to film in 1964, starring Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison and Stanley Holloway) tells the story of a cockney flower-girl’s transformation into the pride of London society. John Whitney has taken highlights from this favourite of stage and screen and presented them in a variety of styles and textures from waltzes to the soft-shoe shuffle.

Guests ‘Brass Beneath’

Celestial Suite’ by Stephen Bulla

4. A Light Syncopated Piece: Eric Coates

Born in the 19th century, Coates become one of the most successful light-music composers of the early 20th century. His work uses melody, counter melodies, orchestration and it integrates ragtime and jazz music. This syncopated piece shows hallmarks of popular dance-band styles of the period, with rhythms in the bass instruments beneath chromatic ‘decorating’ melodies.

5. Larghetto and Presto: JW Hertel, arranged by AW Benoy

Johann Wilhelm Hertel was born in Eisenach in 1727 and was the third generation of a family of musicians. He was a prolific composer active in the latter half of?the 18th century and was notable in his day for his sacred works, and concertos for keyboard and violin. These two movements display a gift for elegant melody. The original versions were scored for strings, horns and continuo, with flutes and bassoons in the Larghetto and flutes and oboes in the Presto. In this arrangement, the movements have been rescored for a full orchestra.

6. Iolanthe Overture: Arthur Sullivan

Sullivan wrote the music for 14 comic operas with lyricist/librettist Gilbert between 1871 and 1896. ‘Iolanthe’ (1882) was the first of the Gilbert & Sullivan comic operas to open at the Savoy theatre. It’s an inventive and sometimes chaotic story of fairies, mortals, mistaken identity and peers of the realm – and the overture conveys the varying pace of the plot.

7. Highlights from Evita: Andrew Lloyd Webber, arranged by Bob Lowden?

Tim Rice and Lloyd Webber began writing the musical show based on the life of Eva Péron in 1974. The first stage production opened on 1978 in London, where?it ran for eight years. This stage show also made the transfer to film in a version made in 1996. The story is about Eva Péron, wife of the Argentinian president in the 1940s, who rose from poverty to power and who provoked extremes of emotion in politicians and people generally, from love to loathing. The score reflects this contradiction and moves from samba rhythms to soaring powerful themes.

Guests ‘Brass Beneath’

Keystone Chops’ by Lennie Niehaus ‘Benediction’ by John Stevens ‘Mission Impossible’ by Lalo Schiffrin

8. Sicilienne: Gabriel Fauré, arranged by David Stone

Fauré’s work bridges the gap between romanticism of the 19th century and modernism of the 20th. In this piece the composer employs subtle harmonic changes and melody. It began life in March 1893 as incidental music for a revival of Molière’s play Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. The producing theatre went bankrupt so the music was incomplete until Fauré arranged it for cello and piano in 1898. Given its subsequent success, Fauré included it in his Pelléas et Mélisande Suite, which he reworked several times but the version including this Sicilienne was first published in 1909.

9. Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith: John Williams, arranged by Victor Lopez?

The film Episode III: Revenge of the Sith was released in 2005, along with its soundtrack, which makes this the only 21st-century piece in the programme. The film was intended to link the two trilogies, and the music achieves this by using some familiar themes from the early films but with the darker more menacing edge of the later films. This collection of music from Williams’ blockbuster soundtrack includes ‘Star Wars (Main Title)’, ‘The Battle of the Heroes,’ and ‘A New Hope’. The medley also draws on the highly percussive themes universally familiar from the 30-year history of the Star Wars film saga.

Encore: ‘Brass Beneath’ with Orchestra

Sullivan: The Policenman’s Song from Pirates of Penzance

 

Programme for Summer Concert on 5th July 2014. 

1. A Supper with Suppé: C. Morena

Despite the poor pun, the title alludes to the piece’s selection of items from
overtures, comic operas and operettas by the Austrian composer Franz von Suppé.
Think of it as a musical buffet or smorgasbord that prepares your musical palat$
the liveliness and diversity you will find in the rest of tonight’s programme.
Darlington

2. Symphony No.1 (first movement): Ludvig van Beethoven

The beginning of this symphony anchors the young Beethoven firmly in the
classical tradition with a slow introduction before the first movement begins
properly. But the use of an off-key chord as the first note ruffled feathers of$
established critics when it was premiered in 1800. After that attention-grabbin$
12 bars, the first movement follows the familiar sonata-allegro plan.

3. The Empire Strikes Back Medley: John Williams, arranged
by John C Whitney

This arrangement uses five iconic tunes from John Williams’ incredible score fo$
film The Empire Strikes Back. Originally released in 1980, it was the second fi$
and the fifth chapter in the Star Wars series by George Lucas and this piece
includes: “May the Force be with You”; “Yoda’s Theme”; “Han Solo and the Prince$
“The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme)”; and “Star Wars Main Theme”.

Guests The Sans Pareil Singers

The Sans Pareil Singers were set up as a community choir in 2009. The group’s
members are from all walks of life and all ages (30s to 80s) and they sing music
from all periods and styles – pop to classical, show tunes to sacred and folk
music. Rehearsals take place every Wednesday evening at All Saints Church in
Hurworth (www.sanspareilsingers.org).

4. Gopak: A Khachaturian, arranged by Jack Lanchbery

This piece is one of the dances from the ballet “Gayaneh”, which was first
performed in 1942. It’s the story of a young woman who lives on a collective fa$
of which her father is the chairman, and she helps entrap a spy attempting to s$
Soviet geological secrets. The original Communist plot has been through several
rewrites but what remains is Khachaturian’s use of Armenian, Eastern European
and Middle Eastern folk music in his work. This exuberant Cossack dance (or
gopak) has helped make the music of Gayaneh popular worldwide. The full suite
also includes the “Sabre Dance” and “Adagio”, previously played in concert by
Darlington Orchestra in recent years.

5. The Muppet Medley: arranged by Bruce Chase

Stars of multiple television series, commercials and films based on the classics
since the 1950s, their most recent appearance is in the 2014 movie Muppets Most
Wanted in which The Muppets find themselves embroiled in a European jewel-
heist caper. In addition over the years, the Muppet characters and programmes
have produced a variety of infectiously catchy musical numbers, many of which
appear in this short medley.

6. Così fan tutte overture: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The opera Così was first produced in Vienna in January 1790 and was initially
successful but later, in the light of Romantic idealism and then “Victorian val$
it was perceived as at best trivial and at worst immoral. But more recently it $
Concert been recognised as a work full of insights into human nature, and as ha$
Mozart’s finest scores. It’s rich in melodic invention and instrumental colouri$
overture opens with a brief slow introduction leading into an effervescent pres$

7. Fascinating Rhythm: George and Ira Gershwin, arranged by
John Whitney

Written in 1924, this song has been performed frequently and recorded dozens
of times in its 90-year history by many artists including Ella Fitzgerald, Tommy
Dorsey and Jamie Cullum. This version is written more like a concert overture t$
a jazz performance and although it is an unusual arrangement ? relying heavily
on percussion for that fascinating rhythm of the title ? the original form of t$
Gershwins’ tune is still easily recognisable throughout.

8. Jeux d’enfants: Georges Bizet, arranged by Herman Finck

Jeux d’enfants was originally a suite of 12 miniatures evoking the simple games$
young children, written for a piano duet. Bizet arranged five of the movements $
orchestra and here we’ll play three: “Marche” is a lively miniature march suita$
for toy soldiers; “La Toupie” begins with a fortissimo chord that sets a top in$
then maintains a spinning figure in the background of a main theme; and “Le Bal$
an effervescent gallop that’s full of energy, as an exuberant finale.

9. A Tribute to Henry Mancini: arranged by Calvin Custer

Henry Mancini was best known for his television and film scores, and his
style is more akin to Big Band than the symphony orchestra. His music often
includes a drum kit, perhaps with brushes and a Latin percussion set, and tunes
may employ blues-influenced chords and melodies augmented with jazz-style
improvisation riffs on various solo instruments. This medley salutes the master$
melodies with an arrangement including “Baby Elephant Walk”, “Charade”, “Days
of Wine and Roses”, “Peter Gunn” and “The Pink Panther”. Be ready to join in
with finger-clicking when required!

 

Programme for Winter Concert on 25th January 2014.

1. K Platts, Sussex Overture

Commissioned by Brighton Education Authority in 1977, Kenneth Platts was keen that this piece, like many of his works, was playable by as many different combinations of players in as many different settings as possible. Unusual in the age of copyright law is a note from the composer in the score that encourages teachers and conductors to adapt parts as necessary to make the performance work. Platts’ contemporary Malcolm Arnold also wrote a piece entitled ‘Sussex Overture’.

2. J Armándola, Suite Ballet Moderne

Armándola (1880-1945) is a little-known composer whose output of light music for  smaller orchestras deserves to be better remembered. This piece was published in 1925. The set of parts we are using tonight has not been played since 1980. Descriptive in style and moving through different idioms with each movement, the piece is something of a short concert in itself. There are five movements: 1. Entrée (Mazurka), 2. Scherzo, 3. Waltz, 4. Intermezzo, 5. Finale.

3. F Spiegl and M Arlan, The Radio 4 UK Theme: an Arrangement of National Airs

This arrangement of airs from around the UK was heard for many years (until 2006) on Radio 4 first thing in the morning. It brings together traditional tunes from across Britain, including: What shall we do with the drunken sailor?; The Londonderry Air; Men of Harlech; Greensleeves; and Scotland the Brave.

GUESTS: The Middleton Festival Choir

An all-ladies choir based in Saltburn, Cleveland appear tonight with their musical director, Janet Howells.

4. H Berlioz, March to the Scaffold

Berlioz wrote his own programme note for the fourth movement of ‘Symphonie  Fantastique’: “Convinced that his love is unappreciated, the artist poisons himself with opium… He dreams that he has killed his beloved, that he is condemned, led to the scaffold and is witnessing his own execution… The procession advances to the sound of a march that is sometimes sombre and wild, and sometimes brilliant and solemn… At the end of the march, the first four bars of the idée fixe reappear like a final thought of love interrupted by the fatal blow when his head bounced down the steps.”

5. J Williams, Superman Returns

John Towner Williams Jr. is an American composer, conductor and pianist. He is  considered by many to have demonstrated over a career spanning more than six decades that he is one of the greatest film composers of all time. He has had a long association with director Steven Spielberg, composing the music for most of Spielberg’s major feature-length films.

6. F von Suppé, Light Cavalry Overture

Light Cavalry Overture is from Suppé’s operetta Light Cavalry, premiered in Vienna in 1866. Although the operetta is rarely performed or recorded, the overture is one of Suppé’s most popular compositions, and has achieved a quite distinct life of its own, divorced from the opera of which it originally formed a part. Many orchestras around the world have the piece in their repertoire, and the main theme of the overture has been quoted numerous times by musicians, cartoons and in adverts and other media.

7. R Matesky, Variations on a Famous Theme by Paganini

Many composers and arrangers have used the theme of Paganini’s 24th Caprice for solo violin to provide a wealth of interpretations and variations. Here are eight bracing  variations ranging from the pastoral to the martial, from a staccato dash to a Bach-inspired fugue. Matesky wanted his arrangement to provide challenges to every section of the “modern accomplished community orchestra”. It certainly does that!

Please welcome back the Middleton Festival Choir

8. J Offenbach, Selection from The Tales of Hoffmann

The French libretto to this opera was written by Jules Barbier, based on three short  stories by ETA Hoffmann who is the protagonist in the opera. Barbier and Michel Carré had previously written a play, Les contes fantastiques d’Hoffmann, which was produced at the Odéon Theatre in Paris in 1851 and which Offenbach had seen. Offenbach never lived to see the opera performed in full. Offenbach’s prelude is followed by a student’s song, a fairy tale, a stately minuet, a fluttering birdsong and a famous barcarolle before concluding with a tutti waltz.

9. R Rodgers, Ever Green Selection, arr. G Jones

Ever Green is a musical with music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart and a book by Benn Levy, based on an idea by Rodgers and Hart. The musical premiered on 3 December 1930 at the newly renovated Adelphi Theatre, London.

Our Summer Concert on 6th July 2013, with Guests The Egglescliffe Community Choir,  was a great success.

The programme was:-

A Short Overture – L. Leonard 

Though written in 1966, the classical influences in Leonard’s work are easier to hear.

 Two Symphonic Dances – E. Grieg, arr. C. Woodhouse

With a trademark use of dissonance and unusual modulation (which no other composers were really doing at the time) these dances take simple folk tunes as starting points and are unmistakably Grieg’s work. The bold “allegro” first movement is complemented by a gentler and more reflective “grazioso” second, which hints at some of the beautifully managed changes of mood that were to characterise Grieg’s later work.

March from Scipio – G. Handel, arr C. Woodhouse

 This march dates from 1726. Charles Woodhouse is one of the mid-twentieth century’s leading arrangers.

 Egglescliffe Community Choir

Two Zulu Songs: 1. Zuma 2. Syinya

Mingulay Boat song – Trad folk song

Selection from Carmen – G. Bizet, arr. D. de Groot 

Carmen received its first performance in Paris in 1875. Bizet died shortly after and would never know the international acclaim his work would subsequently receive. Combining passion and playfulness, this selection picks out the famous Habanera and Toreador’s Song, among others.

 Kiss Me Kate Selection – C. Porter 

Kiss Me Kate is a witty spoof of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. This selection from the musical, arranged by the composer himself, superbly showcases the melodic and polyrhythmic innovations of this giant of American music. Halfway through the selection we hear Porter’s 1948 song “So In Love” – which went on to be a key influence on the James Bond film scores and theme songs which remain so popular today.

 Overture: Fingal’s Cave – F. Mendelssohn, arr. A. Evans

The music was inspired by Mendelssohn’s visit to Scotland in 1829. The experience stayed with him and he didn’t commit his inspiration to manuscript until he was in Italy during 1830-31. Mendelssohn’s music has been called “polished, beautiful and harmonically harmless” – but the lie of the latter part of that description is laid bare by a wonderful and evocative marine inventiveness of harmony in this piece. The deep and swirling basses and cellos providing an ebbing and flowing structure which shifts underneath the music in an extraordinary way throughout. Light plays on water, waves swell and crash and mists hang in the music as we wait for changes of mood to develop like weather.

 Variations on a French Theme – S. Pavey

This melody will be familiar to many of you from the school assembly hall. The theme is followed by Fanfare, Rhumba, Pastorale and a flying Codetta.

Scenes Pittoresques – J. Massenet.

A distinctive voice in late nineteenth century music, music and composition teacher Massenet’s lyrical and identifiably French sound is sometimes left aside these days by those who hear in the music just a paler version of Wagner. But we thought this robust Marche, religiose Angelus (listen for the bell-like French Horns) and raucous Fete Boheme were worth rescuing from the back of a cupboard where a date stamp shows they have been languishing since 1978…

Egglescliffe Community Choir

Three American Spiritual Songs 1. Shenandoah 2. Deep River 3. Bring me little water Sylvie

Jerome Kern Melodies – J. Kern, arr H. Hall 

This adept arrangement features the woodwind and brass and combines some of Kern’s lesser known tunes to culminate in a full orchestral tribute to Ol’ Man River from Showboat first sung by Paul Robeson in 1927. It is 109 years since Kern wrote his first commercially successful song.

Souvenir d’Ukraine – Ferraris 

Little is known about the origins of this piece which was donated to the orchestra by its former leader, June Whyman. It seems to be influenced by the Hungarian czardas dance, but has a Ukrainian flavour of its own, with impassioned writing for solo cello and solo violin and a gradually accelerating middle allegretto that brings the whole piece back to mischievous life. At certain points, and particularly during the final chords, the orchestra is meant to sound like a Eastern European pub band.

 

Our Winter 2013 concert was at our new venue, The Dolphin Centre.  We and the audience were impressed by the acoustics and the setting.

The programme was:

A Boyce Suite, arr Benoy
Broadway Showstoppers, arr Sayre
A Life on the Ocean, arr Binding
Hungarian Rhapsody, Liszt arr Lotter
Joyeuse Marche, Chabrier
Orpheus in the Underworld Overture, Offenbach
Perpetuum Mobile, Strauss
Scherzo, Tchaikovsky arr Benoy
Sounds of Simon and Garfunkel, Simon.

Our guest artists were Locomotion Choir directed by Nikki Lycett.

Read a review on the “Press Comments” page

The previous concert was our final concert, at Darlington Arts Centre on  Saturday the 7th of July 2012, was fantastic.  Every audience seat was taken and all items in the concert produced tremendous applause and some of them were cheered.  At the end, an encore was called for and finally, a portion of the audience gave a standing ovation.

Our programme was

Brahms: Accademic Festival Overture
Mozart: Allegro in C (Church Sonata No 12)
Leslie Arnall: Ole Bull’s Rustic March
Chabrier: Espana
Strauss: Blue Danube Waltz
Jacobs: The Barber of Seville Goes to the Devil
Lionel Bart: Oliver Selection
Joplin: The Entertainer
Lawson (arr): The Nineteen Twenties
Sousa: Stars and Stripes Forever

Our guest artists, The Stockton Male Voice Choir produced a varied, beautiful performance

Sadly this was  our last concert at this venue and  the very last event there.  Unfortunately the Arts Centre is to be closed..

NEXT CONCERT Saturday 23rd Jan., 2016 7.30pm at the Dolphin Centre

 

 

NEXT CONCERT – Saturday 23rd Jan, 7.30pm at the Dolphin Centre 01325 406000

Programme for Summer Concert on 20th June 2015.

1. Hoe­down from ‘Rodeo’ – by Aaron Copland

‘Rodeo’ was written after the success of American composer Copland’s first great western ballet, ‘Billy the Kid’. Originally written for string orchestra, ‘Rodeo’ was later modified for full symphony  orchestra and was premiered in 1942. The ballet score draws heavily on traditional American folk tunes to give a Wild­West flavour. This piece is the last of four dance sections of the ballet and its pace ranges from relative calm with the sound of horses walking, through to them being energetically rounded up. In the ballet, Hoe­down was the finale but here it is a lively introduction to an eclectic programme of early music, pop music, war, harmony, drama, dance and cartoons.

2. Suite No.3 from Handel’s ‘Water Music’ – movements 12­15 (arranged by Andy Jackson)

George Frideric Handel was born in Saxony in 1685 but made his reputation in England as a composer of opera for the London stage, with his first visit to London in 1710. By 1717 he had settled permanently in England when he composed the joyous ‘Water Music’, having been commissioned by George I. The King had requested a concert on the River Thames; he watched from the royal barge as 50 musicians played on barges nearby. The original piece was made up of three orchestral suites. An eyewitness reported an ensemble of flutes, recorders, oboes, bassoons, trumpets, horns, violins, and basses. No mention of the timpani now generally included in performances.

3. Mars: The Bringer of War, from The Planets Op.32 – by Gustav Holst (arranged by Richard Ling)

Mars is the first of seven movements in ‘The Planets Suite’, which Holst began composing in 1914. He finished the suite in 1916 but the first complete public performance did not take place until 1920, conducted by Albert Coates in Queen’s Hall, London. This movement is powerful and menacing. Its unusual 5/4 time signature gives it a slightly unsettling feeling, with an underlying relentless rhythm. Initially, Holst scored most of the work for piano duet. He then scored the suite for a large orchestra, which is the form in which it became enormously popular. Holst’s suite was novel in the early part of the 20th century with its use of irregular themes, possibly influenced by composers such as Stravinsky and Schoenberg.

4. The Dancing Years Selection by Ivor Novello (arranged by Geo L Zalva)

Ivor Novello was an extremely successful British composer/performer/playwright from the 1920s until his death in 1951. ‘The Dancing Years’ (1939) was a musical with book and music by Novello and lyrics by Christopher Hassall. The show was one of the last great London stage hits before the outbreak of World War II. It ran for 187 performances until September of 1939 but was revived three years later and ran for just under 1,000 performances, which was an amazing success. The show’s popularity was helped by its escapist and romantic content. The musical was packed with nostalgia and catchy melodies – many of which will be familiar to audiences today.
5. Toccata and Fugue in D Minor – by Johann Sebastian Bach (arranged by Victor López)

This is probably the most well­known composition for the organ, and the orchestration draws on all the majestic characteristics and grandeur of the original. The two­part musical composition was probably written before 1708, and it starts with a typical approach to a toccata with many fast arpeggios. The fugue presents overlapping repetition of a principal theme in different melodic lines, which was a popular format in the late 1600s and early 1700s. A version of the composition featured in Walt Disney’s animated film Fantasia in 1940.

6. Dances from ‘Danserye’ – by Tielman Susato (arranged by Philip Lane)

Susato was a Flemish instrumentalist and music publisher working in the early­ to mid1550s. He wrote (and published) several books of music; most of the composer’s pieces are dance forms, generally comprising simple but artistic arrangements. This concert includes three movements – La Mourisque, Bergerette, Pavanne: La Battaille – from the suite. ‘La Mourisque’ is a jubilant ceremonial fanfare, and the final “Battle” dance here is set in a bright major key so it is stately rather than violent.

7. (Meet) The Flintstones – by William Hanna, Joseph Barbera and Hoyt Curtin (arranged by Bob Cerulli)

This speedy march, composed in 1961, was first used as the main theme in the third episode of the third series of The Flintstones (1962­1963) replacing the theme tune ‘Rise and Shine’. The original US series ran from 1960 to 1966 with various spin­offs, and it was one of the more musical animated TV shows. Many episodes featured original songs (composed by Hoyt Curtin) or slightly rewritten popular recordings of the day, performed by Fred, Barney, or a special guest star. The original version for this theme tune was recorded by a 22 ­piece jazz band and a five- voice singing group.

8. Thunderbirds March – by Barry Gray (arranged by Richard Ling)

The Thunderbirds TV series was one of the most popular children’s programmes in the 1960s. Barry Gray wrote the brass­dominated theme music specifically for the series in response to Gerry Anderson’s request that the main theme should have a “military feel”. Gray joined Anderson’s company AP Films in 1956 and scored its first marionette puppet television series, The Adventures of Twizzle. He composed themes to all the other “Supermarionation” productions, including Fireball XL5, Stingray, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons and Joe 90. Gray used identifying themes extensively, with each machine in the Thunderbirds television show having its own tune.

9. California Dreamin’ – by John Phillips and Michelle Gilliam (arranged by Willis Schaefer)

This hit by The Mamas & The Papas was written in 1963 when Michelle and John Phillips were living in New York and it was a particularly cold winter, at least by Michelle’s standards because she was from California. In 1966, the song shot into the US Billboard chart’s Top 10. The band became hugely popular by singing beautiful four­part harmonies, which are reflected in this orchestration. With its summery and relaxed sound, California Dreamin’ is a folk­rock song that was slightly unusual for the time because it didn’t have the conventional guitar solo. Instead, the instrumental solo was by an alto flute, which is larger than a regular flute and plays in a lower register. In this version, the familiar solo is shared among most sections but features the alto saxophone and trumpet.

Programme for special guests: The Darlington Clarinet Ensemble

i. Sortie in Eb – by Louis James Alfred Lefébure­Wély (arranged by Christopher Hooker)
ii. Rikudim – by Jan Van der Roost (arranged by Maarten Jense)
iii. Three Dances – by Guy Woolfenden
iv. Two Cinematographic Impressions – by James Rae

Programme for Winter Concert on 24th Jan 2015.

Audience Comments

At this concert we asked our audience to respond to a feedback form.  Below are some typical replies:

Wonderful variety and different musical periods.  Ms S

Lovely programme!   Mrs D

It’s gratifying to know Darlington has so much talent.  Ms W

(I enjoyed) all of it, but Star Wars was best.  Ms C

We thoroughly enjoyed the Iolanthe and the encore!  Mr and Mrs W

Evening and venue most enjoyable!  Good choice of music, lovely atmosphere.  Ms W

Thoroughly enjoyed a new experience – excellent night.  Anon

Friendly faces, interesting descriptions of music, warm welcome, great venue, chilled

atmosphere.  Mr S

Whole thing brilliant – Thank you!  Ms M

Super concert.  Excellent orchestra.  Ms E

1. Prelude from the Te Deum: Marc Antoine Charpentier, arranged by Nigel Wicken

Charpentier composed a large quantity of church music, including six Te Deum settings, although only four of them have survived. It is thought that this composition was written in the late 17th century. In the 20th century, the prelude became familiar to many people as it is the theme music for the European Broadcasting Union – the organisation responsible for the Eurovision Song Contest.

2. Variations on a Shaker Melody: Aaron Copland

The variations use folk music for the basic material and the piece is an excerpt from ‘Appalachian Spring’, which was composed in 1943-44 as a ballet. The original scoring called for a chamber ensemble of 13 instruments. Copland rearranged the ballet work as an orchestral suite, preserving most of the music. The ballet and orchestral work were well received and are generally credited as popularising the composer – especially as ‘Appalachian Spring’ won the Pulitzer Prize in 1945.

3. My Fair Lady: Frederick Loewe, arranged by John Whitney

The medley includes ‘I Could Have Danced All Night’, ‘On the Street Where You Live’, ‘I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face’ and ‘Get Me to the Church on Time’. The great Lerner and Loewe stage show (which made the transfer to film in 1964, starring Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison and Stanley Holloway) tells the story of a cockney flower-girl’s transformation into the pride of London society. John Whitney has taken highlights from this favourite of stage and screen and presented them in a variety of styles and textures from waltzes to the soft-shoe shuffle.

Guests ‘Brass Beneath’

Celestial Suite’ by Stephen Bulla

4. A Light Syncopated Piece: Eric Coates

Born in the 19th century, Coates become one of the most successful light-music composers of the early 20th century. His work uses melody, counter melodies, orchestration and it integrates ragtime and jazz music. This syncopated piece shows hallmarks of popular dance-band styles of the period, with rhythms in the bass instruments beneath chromatic ‘decorating’ melodies.

5. Larghetto and Presto: JW Hertel, arranged by AW Benoy

Johann Wilhelm Hertel was born in Eisenach in 1727 and was the third generation of a family of musicians. He was a prolific composer active in the latter half of?the 18th century and was notable in his day for his sacred works, and concertos for keyboard and violin. These two movements display a gift for elegant melody. The original versions were scored for strings, horns and continuo, with flutes and bassoons in the Larghetto and flutes and oboes in the Presto. In this arrangement, the movements have been rescored for a full orchestra.

6. Iolanthe Overture: Arthur Sullivan

Sullivan wrote the music for 14 comic operas with lyricist/librettist Gilbert between 1871 and 1896. ‘Iolanthe’ (1882) was the first of the Gilbert & Sullivan comic operas to open at the Savoy theatre. It’s an inventive and sometimes chaotic story of fairies, mortals, mistaken identity and peers of the realm – and the overture conveys the varying pace of the plot.

7. Highlights from Evita: Andrew Lloyd Webber, arranged by Bob Lowden?

Tim Rice and Lloyd Webber began writing the musical show based on the life of Eva Péron in 1974. The first stage production opened on 1978 in London, where?it ran for eight years. This stage show also made the transfer to film in a version made in 1996. The story is about Eva Péron, wife of the Argentinian president in the 1940s, who rose from poverty to power and who provoked extremes of emotion in politicians and people generally, from love to loathing. The score reflects this contradiction and moves from samba rhythms to soaring powerful themes.

Guests ‘Brass Beneath’

Keystone Chops’ by Lennie Niehaus ‘Benediction’ by John Stevens ‘Mission Impossible’ by Lalo Schiffrin

8. Sicilienne: Gabriel Fauré, arranged by David Stone

Fauré’s work bridges the gap between romanticism of the 19th century and modernism of the 20th. In this piece the composer employs subtle harmonic changes and melody. It began life in March 1893 as incidental music for a revival of Molière’s play Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. The producing theatre went bankrupt so the music was incomplete until Fauré arranged it for cello and piano in 1898. Given its subsequent success, Fauré included it in his Pelléas et Mélisande Suite, which he reworked several times but the version including this Sicilienne was first published in 1909.

9. Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith: John Williams, arranged by Victor Lopez?

The film Episode III: Revenge of the Sith was released in 2005, along with its soundtrack, which makes this the only 21st-century piece in the programme. The film was intended to link the two trilogies, and the music achieves this by using some familiar themes from the early films but with the darker more menacing edge of the later films. This collection of music from Williams’ blockbuster soundtrack includes ‘Star Wars (Main Title)’, ‘The Battle of the Heroes,’ and ‘A New Hope’. The medley also draws on the highly percussive themes universally familiar from the 30-year history of the Star Wars film saga.

Encore: ‘Brass Beneath’ with Orchestra

Sullivan: The Policenman’s Song from Pirates of Penzance

 

Programme for Summer Concert on 5th July 2014. 

1. A Supper with Suppé: C. Morena

Despite the poor pun, the title alludes to the piece’s selection of items from
overtures, comic operas and operettas by the Austrian composer Franz von Suppé.
Think of it as a musical buffet or smorgasbord that prepares your musical palat$
the liveliness and diversity you will find in the rest of tonight’s programme.
Darlington

2. Symphony No.1 (first movement): Ludvig van Beethoven

The beginning of this symphony anchors the young Beethoven firmly in the
classical tradition with a slow introduction before the first movement begins
properly. But the use of an off-key chord as the first note ruffled feathers of$
established critics when it was premiered in 1800. After that attention-grabbin$
12 bars, the first movement follows the familiar sonata-allegro plan.

3. The Empire Strikes Back Medley: John Williams, arranged
by John C Whitney

This arrangement uses five iconic tunes from John Williams’ incredible score fo$
film The Empire Strikes Back. Originally released in 1980, it was the second fi$
and the fifth chapter in the Star Wars series by George Lucas and this piece
includes: “May the Force be with You”; “Yoda’s Theme”; “Han Solo and the Prince$
“The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme)”; and “Star Wars Main Theme”.

Guests The Sans Pareil Singers

The Sans Pareil Singers were set up as a community choir in 2009. The group’s
members are from all walks of life and all ages (30s to 80s) and they sing music
from all periods and styles – pop to classical, show tunes to sacred and folk
music. Rehearsals take place every Wednesday evening at All Saints Church in
Hurworth (www.sanspareilsingers.org).

4. Gopak: A Khachaturian, arranged by Jack Lanchbery

This piece is one of the dances from the ballet “Gayaneh”, which was first
performed in 1942. It’s the story of a young woman who lives on a collective fa$
of which her father is the chairman, and she helps entrap a spy attempting to s$
Soviet geological secrets. The original Communist plot has been through several
rewrites but what remains is Khachaturian’s use of Armenian, Eastern European
and Middle Eastern folk music in his work. This exuberant Cossack dance (or
gopak) has helped make the music of Gayaneh popular worldwide. The full suite
also includes the “Sabre Dance” and “Adagio”, previously played in concert by
Darlington Orchestra in recent years.

5. The Muppet Medley: arranged by Bruce Chase

Stars of multiple television series, commercials and films based on the classics
since the 1950s, their most recent appearance is in the 2014 movie Muppets Most
Wanted in which The Muppets find themselves embroiled in a European jewel-
heist caper. In addition over the years, the Muppet characters and programmes
have produced a variety of infectiously catchy musical numbers, many of which
appear in this short medley.

6. Così fan tutte overture: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The opera Così was first produced in Vienna in January 1790 and was initially
successful but later, in the light of Romantic idealism and then “Victorian val$
it was perceived as at best trivial and at worst immoral. But more recently it $
Concert been recognised as a work full of insights into human nature, and as ha$
Mozart’s finest scores. It’s rich in melodic invention and instrumental colouri$
overture opens with a brief slow introduction leading into an effervescent pres$

7. Fascinating Rhythm: George and Ira Gershwin, arranged by
John Whitney

Written in 1924, this song has been performed frequently and recorded dozens
of times in its 90-year history by many artists including Ella Fitzgerald, Tommy
Dorsey and Jamie Cullum. This version is written more like a concert overture t$
a jazz performance and although it is an unusual arrangement ? relying heavily
on percussion for that fascinating rhythm of the title ? the original form of t$
Gershwins’ tune is still easily recognisable throughout.

8. Jeux d’enfants: Georges Bizet, arranged by Herman Finck

Jeux d’enfants was originally a suite of 12 miniatures evoking the simple games$
young children, written for a piano duet. Bizet arranged five of the movements $
orchestra and here we’ll play three: “Marche” is a lively miniature march suita$
for toy soldiers; “La Toupie” begins with a fortissimo chord that sets a top in$
then maintains a spinning figure in the background of a main theme; and “Le Bal$
an effervescent gallop that’s full of energy, as an exuberant finale.

9. A Tribute to Henry Mancini: arranged by Calvin Custer

Henry Mancini was best known for his television and film scores, and his
style is more akin to Big Band than the symphony orchestra. His music often
includes a drum kit, perhaps with brushes and a Latin percussion set, and tunes
may employ blues-influenced chords and melodies augmented with jazz-style
improvisation riffs on various solo instruments. This medley salutes the master$
melodies with an arrangement including “Baby Elephant Walk”, “Charade”, “Days
of Wine and Roses”, “Peter Gunn” and “The Pink Panther”. Be ready to join in
with finger-clicking when required!

 

Programme for Winter Concert on 25th January 2014.

1. K Platts, Sussex Overture

Commissioned by Brighton Education Authority in 1977, Kenneth Platts was keen that this piece, like many of his works, was playable by as many different combinations of players in as many different settings as possible. Unusual in the age of copyright law is a note from the composer in the score that encourages teachers and conductors to adapt parts as necessary to make the performance work. Platts’ contemporary Malcolm Arnold also wrote a piece entitled ‘Sussex Overture’.

2. J Armándola, Suite Ballet Moderne

Armándola (1880-1945) is a little-known composer whose output of light music for  smaller orchestras deserves to be better remembered. This piece was published in 1925. The set of parts we are using tonight has not been played since 1980. Descriptive in style and moving through different idioms with each movement, the piece is something of a short concert in itself. There are five movements: 1. Entrée (Mazurka), 2. Scherzo, 3. Waltz, 4. Intermezzo, 5. Finale.

3. F Spiegl and M Arlan, The Radio 4 UK Theme: an Arrangement of National Airs

This arrangement of airs from around the UK was heard for many years (until 2006) on Radio 4 first thing in the morning. It brings together traditional tunes from across Britain, including: What shall we do with the drunken sailor?; The Londonderry Air; Men of Harlech; Greensleeves; and Scotland the Brave.

GUESTS: The Middleton Festival Choir

An all-ladies choir based in Saltburn, Cleveland appear tonight with their musical director, Janet Howells.

4. H Berlioz, March to the Scaffold

Berlioz wrote his own programme note for the fourth movement of ‘Symphonie  Fantastique’: “Convinced that his love is unappreciated, the artist poisons himself with opium… He dreams that he has killed his beloved, that he is condemned, led to the scaffold and is witnessing his own execution… The procession advances to the sound of a march that is sometimes sombre and wild, and sometimes brilliant and solemn… At the end of the march, the first four bars of the idée fixe reappear like a final thought of love interrupted by the fatal blow when his head bounced down the steps.”

5. J Williams, Superman Returns

John Towner Williams Jr. is an American composer, conductor and pianist. He is  considered by many to have demonstrated over a career spanning more than six decades that he is one of the greatest film composers of all time. He has had a long association with director Steven Spielberg, composing the music for most of Spielberg’s major feature-length films.

6. F von Suppé, Light Cavalry Overture

Light Cavalry Overture is from Suppé’s operetta Light Cavalry, premiered in Vienna in 1866. Although the operetta is rarely performed or recorded, the overture is one of Suppé’s most popular compositions, and has achieved a quite distinct life of its own, divorced from the opera of which it originally formed a part. Many orchestras around the world have the piece in their repertoire, and the main theme of the overture has been quoted numerous times by musicians, cartoons and in adverts and other media.

7. R Matesky, Variations on a Famous Theme by Paganini

Many composers and arrangers have used the theme of Paganini’s 24th Caprice for solo violin to provide a wealth of interpretations and variations. Here are eight bracing  variations ranging from the pastoral to the martial, from a staccato dash to a Bach-inspired fugue. Matesky wanted his arrangement to provide challenges to every section of the “modern accomplished community orchestra”. It certainly does that!

Please welcome back the Middleton Festival Choir

8. J Offenbach, Selection from The Tales of Hoffmann

The French libretto to this opera was written by Jules Barbier, based on three short  stories by ETA Hoffmann who is the protagonist in the opera. Barbier and Michel Carré had previously written a play, Les contes fantastiques d’Hoffmann, which was produced at the Odéon Theatre in Paris in 1851 and which Offenbach had seen. Offenbach never lived to see the opera performed in full. Offenbach’s prelude is followed by a student’s song, a fairy tale, a stately minuet, a fluttering birdsong and a famous barcarolle before concluding with a tutti waltz.

9. R Rodgers, Ever Green Selection, arr. G Jones

Ever Green is a musical with music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart and a book by Benn Levy, based on an idea by Rodgers and Hart. The musical premiered on 3 December 1930 at the newly renovated Adelphi Theatre, London.

Our Summer Concert on 6th July 2013, with Guests The Egglescliffe Community Choir,  was a great success.

The programme was:-

A Short Overture – L. Leonard 

Though written in 1966, the classical influences in Leonard’s work are easier to hear.

 Two Symphonic Dances – E. Grieg, arr. C. Woodhouse

With a trademark use of dissonance and unusual modulation (which no other composers were really doing at the time) these dances take simple folk tunes as starting points and are unmistakably Grieg’s work. The bold “allegro” first movement is complemented by a gentler and more reflective “grazioso” second, which hints at some of the beautifully managed changes of mood that were to characterise Grieg’s later work.

March from Scipio – G. Handel, arr C. Woodhouse

 This march dates from 1726. Charles Woodhouse is one of the mid-twentieth century’s leading arrangers.

 Egglescliffe Community Choir

Two Zulu Songs: 1. Zuma 2. Syinya

Mingulay Boat song – Trad folk song

Selection from Carmen – G. Bizet, arr. D. de Groot 

Carmen received its first performance in Paris in 1875. Bizet died shortly after and would never know the international acclaim his work would subsequently receive. Combining passion and playfulness, this selection picks out the famous Habanera and Toreador’s Song, among others.

 Kiss Me Kate Selection – C. Porter 

Kiss Me Kate is a witty spoof of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. This selection from the musical, arranged by the composer himself, superbly showcases the melodic and polyrhythmic innovations of this giant of American music. Halfway through the selection we hear Porter’s 1948 song “So In Love” – which went on to be a key influence on the James Bond film scores and theme songs which remain so popular today.

 Overture: Fingal’s Cave – F. Mendelssohn, arr. A. Evans

The music was inspired by Mendelssohn’s visit to Scotland in 1829. The experience stayed with him and he didn’t commit his inspiration to manuscript until he was in Italy during 1830-31. Mendelssohn’s music has been called “polished, beautiful and harmonically harmless” – but the lie of the latter part of that description is laid bare by a wonderful and evocative marine inventiveness of harmony in this piece. The deep and swirling basses and cellos providing an ebbing and flowing structure which shifts underneath the music in an extraordinary way throughout. Light plays on water, waves swell and crash and mists hang in the music as we wait for changes of mood to develop like weather.

 Variations on a French Theme – S. Pavey

This melody will be familiar to many of you from the school assembly hall. The theme is followed by Fanfare, Rhumba, Pastorale and a flying Codetta.

Scenes Pittoresques – J. Massenet.

A distinctive voice in late nineteenth century music, music and composition teacher Massenet’s lyrical and identifiably French sound is sometimes left aside these days by those who hear in the music just a paler version of Wagner. But we thought this robust Marche, religiose Angelus (listen for the bell-like French Horns) and raucous Fete Boheme were worth rescuing from the back of a cupboard where a date stamp shows they have been languishing since 1978…

Egglescliffe Community Choir

Three American Spiritual Songs 1. Shenandoah 2. Deep River 3. Bring me little water Sylvie

Jerome Kern Melodies – J. Kern, arr H. Hall 

This adept arrangement features the woodwind and brass and combines some of Kern’s lesser known tunes to culminate in a full orchestral tribute to Ol’ Man River from Showboat first sung by Paul Robeson in 1927. It is 109 years since Kern wrote his first commercially successful song.

Souvenir d’Ukraine – Ferraris 

Little is known about the origins of this piece which was donated to the orchestra by its former leader, June Whyman. It seems to be influenced by the Hungarian czardas dance, but has a Ukrainian flavour of its own, with impassioned writing for solo cello and solo violin and a gradually accelerating middle allegretto that brings the whole piece back to mischievous life. At certain points, and particularly during the final chords, the orchestra is meant to sound like a Eastern European pub band.

 

Our Winter 2013 concert was at our new venue, The Dolphin Centre.  We and the audience were impressed by the acoustics and the setting.

The programme was:

A Boyce Suite, arr Benoy
Broadway Showstoppers, arr Sayre
A Life on the Ocean, arr Binding
Hungarian Rhapsody, Liszt arr Lotter
Joyeuse Marche, Chabrier
Orpheus in the Underworld Overture, Offenbach
Perpetuum Mobile, Strauss
Scherzo, Tchaikovsky arr Benoy
Sounds of Simon and Garfunkel, Simon.

Our guest artists were Locomotion Choir directed by Nikki Lycett.

Read a review on the “Press Comments” page

The previous concert was our final concert, at Darlington Arts Centre on  Saturday the 7th of July 2012, was fantastic.  Every audience seat was taken and all items in the concert produced tremendous applause and some of them were cheered.  At the end, an encore was called for and finally, a portion of the audience gave a standing ovation.

Our programme was

Brahms: Accademic Festival Overture
Mozart: Allegro in C (Church Sonata No 12)
Leslie Arnall: Ole Bull’s Rustic March
Chabrier: Espana
Strauss: Blue Danube Waltz
Jacobs: The Barber of Seville Goes to the Devil
Lionel Bart: Oliver Selection
Joplin: The Entertainer
Lawson (arr): The Nineteen Twenties
Sousa: Stars and Stripes Forever

Our guest artists, The Stockton Male Voice Choir produced a varied, beautiful performance

Sadly this was  our last concert at this venue and  the very last event there.  Unfortunately the Arts Centre is to be closed..

NEXT CONCERT Saturday 23rd Jan., 2016 7.30pm at the Dolphin Centre

 

 

NEXT CONCERT – Saturday 23rd Jan, 7.30pm at the Dolphin Centre 01325 406000

Programme for Summer Concert on 20th June 2015.

1. Hoe­down from ‘Rodeo’ – by Aaron Copland

‘Rodeo’ was written after the success of American composer Copland’s first great western ballet, ‘Billy the Kid’. Originally written for string orchestra, ‘Rodeo’ was later modified for full symphony  orchestra and was premiered in 1942. The ballet score draws heavily on traditional American folk tunes to give a Wild­West flavour. This piece is the last of four dance sections of the ballet and its pace ranges from relative calm with the sound of horses walking, through to them being energetically rounded up. In the ballet, Hoe­down was the finale but here it is a lively introduction to an eclectic programme of early music, pop music, war, harmony, drama, dance and cartoons.

2. Suite No.3 from Handel’s ‘Water Music’ – movements 12­15 (arranged by Andy Jackson)

George Frideric Handel was born in Saxony in 1685 but made his reputation in England as a composer of opera for the London stage, with his first visit to London in 1710. By 1717 he had settled permanently in England when he composed the joyous ‘Water Music’, having been commissioned by George I. The King had requested a concert on the River Thames; he watched from the royal barge as 50 musicians played on barges nearby. The original piece was made up of three orchestral suites. An eyewitness reported an ensemble of flutes, recorders, oboes, bassoons, trumpets, horns, violins, and basses. No mention of the timpani now generally included in performances.

3. Mars: The Bringer of War, from The Planets Op.32 – by Gustav Holst (arranged by Richard Ling)

Mars is the first of seven movements in ‘The Planets Suite’, which Holst began composing in 1914. He finished the suite in 1916 but the first complete public performance did not take place until 1920, conducted by Albert Coates in Queen’s Hall, London. This movement is powerful and menacing. Its unusual 5/4 time signature gives it a slightly unsettling feeling, with an underlying relentless rhythm. Initially, Holst scored most of the work for piano duet. He then scored the suite for a large orchestra, which is the form in which it became enormously popular. Holst’s suite was novel in the early part of the 20th century with its use of irregular themes, possibly influenced by composers such as Stravinsky and Schoenberg.

4. The Dancing Years Selection by Ivor Novello (arranged by Geo L Zalva)

Ivor Novello was an extremely successful British composer/performer/playwright from the 1920s until his death in 1951. ‘The Dancing Years’ (1939) was a musical with book and music by Novello and lyrics by Christopher Hassall. The show was one of the last great London stage hits before the outbreak of World War II. It ran for 187 performances until September of 1939 but was revived three years later and ran for just under 1,000 performances, which was an amazing success. The show’s popularity was helped by its escapist and romantic content. The musical was packed with nostalgia and catchy melodies – many of which will be familiar to audiences today.
5. Toccata and Fugue in D Minor – by Johann Sebastian Bach (arranged by Victor López)

This is probably the most well­known composition for the organ, and the orchestration draws on all the majestic characteristics and grandeur of the original. The two­part musical composition was probably written before 1708, and it starts with a typical approach to a toccata with many fast arpeggios. The fugue presents overlapping repetition of a principal theme in different melodic lines, which was a popular format in the late 1600s and early 1700s. A version of the composition featured in Walt Disney’s animated film Fantasia in 1940.

6. Dances from ‘Danserye’ – by Tielman Susato (arranged by Philip Lane)

Susato was a Flemish instrumentalist and music publisher working in the early­ to mid1550s. He wrote (and published) several books of music; most of the composer’s pieces are dance forms, generally comprising simple but artistic arrangements. This concert includes three movements – La Mourisque, Bergerette, Pavanne: La Battaille – from the suite. ‘La Mourisque’ is a jubilant ceremonial fanfare, and the final “Battle” dance here is set in a bright major key so it is stately rather than violent.

7. (Meet) The Flintstones – by William Hanna, Joseph Barbera and Hoyt Curtin (arranged by Bob Cerulli)

This speedy march, composed in 1961, was first used as the main theme in the third episode of the third series of The Flintstones (1962­1963) replacing the theme tune ‘Rise and Shine’. The original US series ran from 1960 to 1966 with various spin­offs, and it was one of the more musical animated TV shows. Many episodes featured original songs (composed by Hoyt Curtin) or slightly rewritten popular recordings of the day, performed by Fred, Barney, or a special guest star. The original version for this theme tune was recorded by a 22 ­piece jazz band and a five- voice singing group.

8. Thunderbirds March – by Barry Gray (arranged by Richard Ling)

The Thunderbirds TV series was one of the most popular children’s programmes in the 1960s. Barry Gray wrote the brass­dominated theme music specifically for the series in response to Gerry Anderson’s request that the main theme should have a “military feel”. Gray joined Anderson’s company AP Films in 1956 and scored its first marionette puppet television series, The Adventures of Twizzle. He composed themes to all the other “Supermarionation” productions, including Fireball XL5, Stingray, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons and Joe 90. Gray used identifying themes extensively, with each machine in the Thunderbirds television show having its own tune.

9. California Dreamin’ – by John Phillips and Michelle Gilliam (arranged by Willis Schaefer)

This hit by The Mamas & The Papas was written in 1963 when Michelle and John Phillips were living in New York and it was a particularly cold winter, at least by Michelle’s standards because she was from California. In 1966, the song shot into the US Billboard chart’s Top 10. The band became hugely popular by singing beautiful four­part harmonies, which are reflected in this orchestration. With its summery and relaxed sound, California Dreamin’ is a folk­rock song that was slightly unusual for the time because it didn’t have the conventional guitar solo. Instead, the instrumental solo was by an alto flute, which is larger than a regular flute and plays in a lower register. In this version, the familiar solo is shared among most sections but features the alto saxophone and trumpet.

Programme for special guests: The Darlington Clarinet Ensemble

i. Sortie in Eb – by Louis James Alfred Lefébure­Wély (arranged by Christopher Hooker)
ii. Rikudim – by Jan Van der Roost (arranged by Maarten Jense)
iii. Three Dances – by Guy Woolfenden
iv. Two Cinematographic Impressions – by James Rae

Programme for Winter Concert on 24th Jan 2015.

Audience Comments

At this concert we asked our audience to respond to a feedback form.  Below are some typical replies:

Wonderful variety and different musical periods.  Ms S

Lovely programme!   Mrs D

It’s gratifying to know Darlington has so much talent.  Ms W

(I enjoyed) all of it, but Star Wars was best.  Ms C

We thoroughly enjoyed the Iolanthe and the encore!  Mr and Mrs W

Evening and venue most enjoyable!  Good choice of music, lovely atmosphere.  Ms W

Thoroughly enjoyed a new experience – excellent night.  Anon

Friendly faces, interesting descriptions of music, warm welcome, great venue, chilled

atmosphere.  Mr S

Whole thing brilliant – Thank you!  Ms M

Super concert.  Excellent orchestra.  Ms E

1. Prelude from the Te Deum: Marc Antoine Charpentier, arranged by Nigel Wicken

Charpentier composed a large quantity of church music, including six Te Deum settings, although only four of them have survived. It is thought that this composition was written in the late 17th century. In the 20th century, the prelude became familiar to many people as it is the theme music for the European Broadcasting Union – the organisation responsible for the Eurovision Song Contest.

2. Variations on a Shaker Melody: Aaron Copland

The variations use folk music for the basic material and the piece is an excerpt from ‘Appalachian Spring’, which was composed in 1943-44 as a ballet. The original scoring called for a chamber ensemble of 13 instruments. Copland rearranged the ballet work as an orchestral suite, preserving most of the music. The ballet and orchestral work were well received and are generally credited as popularising the composer – especially as ‘Appalachian Spring’ won the Pulitzer Prize in 1945.

3. My Fair Lady: Frederick Loewe, arranged by John Whitney

The medley includes ‘I Could Have Danced All Night’, ‘On the Street Where You Live’, ‘I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face’ and ‘Get Me to the Church on Time’. The great Lerner and Loewe stage show (which made the transfer to film in 1964, starring Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison and Stanley Holloway) tells the story of a cockney flower-girl’s transformation into the pride of London society. John Whitney has taken highlights from this favourite of stage and screen and presented them in a variety of styles and textures from waltzes to the soft-shoe shuffle.

Guests ‘Brass Beneath’

Celestial Suite’ by Stephen Bulla

4. A Light Syncopated Piece: Eric Coates

Born in the 19th century, Coates become one of the most successful light-music composers of the early 20th century. His work uses melody, counter melodies, orchestration and it integrates ragtime and jazz music. This syncopated piece shows hallmarks of popular dance-band styles of the period, with rhythms in the bass instruments beneath chromatic ‘decorating’ melodies.

5. Larghetto and Presto: JW Hertel, arranged by AW Benoy

Johann Wilhelm Hertel was born in Eisenach in 1727 and was the third generation of a family of musicians. He was a prolific composer active in the latter half of?the 18th century and was notable in his day for his sacred works, and concertos for keyboard and violin. These two movements display a gift for elegant melody. The original versions were scored for strings, horns and continuo, with flutes and bassoons in the Larghetto and flutes and oboes in the Presto. In this arrangement, the movements have been rescored for a full orchestra.

6. Iolanthe Overture: Arthur Sullivan

Sullivan wrote the music for 14 comic operas with lyricist/librettist Gilbert between 1871 and 1896. ‘Iolanthe’ (1882) was the first of the Gilbert & Sullivan comic operas to open at the Savoy theatre. It’s an inventive and sometimes chaotic story of fairies, mortals, mistaken identity and peers of the realm – and the overture conveys the varying pace of the plot.

7. Highlights from Evita: Andrew Lloyd Webber, arranged by Bob Lowden?

Tim Rice and Lloyd Webber began writing the musical show based on the life of Eva Péron in 1974. The first stage production opened on 1978 in London, where?it ran for eight years. This stage show also made the transfer to film in a version made in 1996. The story is about Eva Péron, wife of the Argentinian president in the 1940s, who rose from poverty to power and who provoked extremes of emotion in politicians and people generally, from love to loathing. The score reflects this contradiction and moves from samba rhythms to soaring powerful themes.

Guests ‘Brass Beneath’

Keystone Chops’ by Lennie Niehaus ‘Benediction’ by John Stevens ‘Mission Impossible’ by Lalo Schiffrin

8. Sicilienne: Gabriel Fauré, arranged by David Stone

Fauré’s work bridges the gap between romanticism of the 19th century and modernism of the 20th. In this piece the composer employs subtle harmonic changes and melody. It began life in March 1893 as incidental music for a revival of Molière’s play Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. The producing theatre went bankrupt so the music was incomplete until Fauré arranged it for cello and piano in 1898. Given its subsequent success, Fauré included it in his Pelléas et Mélisande Suite, which he reworked several times but the version including this Sicilienne was first published in 1909.

9. Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith: John Williams, arranged by Victor Lopez?

The film Episode III: Revenge of the Sith was released in 2005, along with its soundtrack, which makes this the only 21st-century piece in the programme. The film was intended to link the two trilogies, and the music achieves this by using some familiar themes from the early films but with the darker more menacing edge of the later films. This collection of music from Williams’ blockbuster soundtrack includes ‘Star Wars (Main Title)’, ‘The Battle of the Heroes,’ and ‘A New Hope’. The medley also draws on the highly percussive themes universally familiar from the 30-year history of the Star Wars film saga.

Encore: ‘Brass Beneath’ with Orchestra

Sullivan: The Policenman’s Song from Pirates of Penzance

 

Programme for Summer Concert on 5th July 2014. 

1. A Supper with Suppé: C. Morena

Despite the poor pun, the title alludes to the piece’s selection of items from
overtures, comic operas and operettas by the Austrian composer Franz von Suppé.
Think of it as a musical buffet or smorgasbord that prepares your musical palat$
the liveliness and diversity you will find in the rest of tonight’s programme.
Darlington

2. Symphony No.1 (first movement): Ludvig van Beethoven

The beginning of this symphony anchors the young Beethoven firmly in the
classical tradition with a slow introduction before the first movement begins
properly. But the use of an off-key chord as the first note ruffled feathers of$
established critics when it was premiered in 1800. After that attention-grabbin$
12 bars, the first movement follows the familiar sonata-allegro plan.

3. The Empire Strikes Back Medley: John Williams, arranged
by John C Whitney

This arrangement uses five iconic tunes from John Williams’ incredible score fo$
film The Empire Strikes Back. Originally released in 1980, it was the second fi$
and the fifth chapter in the Star Wars series by George Lucas and this piece
includes: “May the Force be with You”; “Yoda’s Theme”; “Han Solo and the Prince$
“The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme)”; and “Star Wars Main Theme”.

Guests The Sans Pareil Singers

The Sans Pareil Singers were set up as a community choir in 2009. The group’s
members are from all walks of life and all ages (30s to 80s) and they sing music
from all periods and styles – pop to classical, show tunes to sacred and folk
music. Rehearsals take place every Wednesday evening at All Saints Church in
Hurworth (www.sanspareilsingers.org).

4. Gopak: A Khachaturian, arranged by Jack Lanchbery

This piece is one of the dances from the ballet “Gayaneh”, which was first
performed in 1942. It’s the story of a young woman who lives on a collective fa$
of which her father is the chairman, and she helps entrap a spy attempting to s$
Soviet geological secrets. The original Communist plot has been through several
rewrites but what remains is Khachaturian’s use of Armenian, Eastern European
and Middle Eastern folk music in his work. This exuberant Cossack dance (or
gopak) has helped make the music of Gayaneh popular worldwide. The full suite
also includes the “Sabre Dance” and “Adagio”, previously played in concert by
Darlington Orchestra in recent years.

5. The Muppet Medley: arranged by Bruce Chase

Stars of multiple television series, commercials and films based on the classics
since the 1950s, their most recent appearance is in the 2014 movie Muppets Most
Wanted in which The Muppets find themselves embroiled in a European jewel-
heist caper. In addition over the years, the Muppet characters and programmes
have produced a variety of infectiously catchy musical numbers, many of which
appear in this short medley.

6. Così fan tutte overture: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The opera Così was first produced in Vienna in January 1790 and was initially
successful but later, in the light of Romantic idealism and then “Victorian val$
it was perceived as at best trivial and at worst immoral. But more recently it $
Concert been recognised as a work full of insights into human nature, and as ha$
Mozart’s finest scores. It’s rich in melodic invention and instrumental colouri$
overture opens with a brief slow introduction leading into an effervescent pres$

7. Fascinating Rhythm: George and Ira Gershwin, arranged by
John Whitney

Written in 1924, this song has been performed frequently and recorded dozens
of times in its 90-year history by many artists including Ella Fitzgerald, Tommy
Dorsey and Jamie Cullum. This version is written more like a concert overture t$
a jazz performance and although it is an unusual arrangement ? relying heavily
on percussion for that fascinating rhythm of the title ? the original form of t$
Gershwins’ tune is still easily recognisable throughout.

8. Jeux d’enfants: Georges Bizet, arranged by Herman Finck

Jeux d’enfants was originally a suite of 12 miniatures evoking the simple games$
young children, written for a piano duet. Bizet arranged five of the movements $
orchestra and here we’ll play three: “Marche” is a lively miniature march suita$
for toy soldiers; “La Toupie” begins with a fortissimo chord that sets a top in$
then maintains a spinning figure in the background of a main theme; and “Le Bal$
an effervescent gallop that’s full of energy, as an exuberant finale.

9. A Tribute to Henry Mancini: arranged by Calvin Custer

Henry Mancini was best known for his television and film scores, and his
style is more akin to Big Band than the symphony orchestra. His music often
includes a drum kit, perhaps with brushes and a Latin percussion set, and tunes
may employ blues-influenced chords and melodies augmented with jazz-style
improvisation riffs on various solo instruments. This medley salutes the master$
melodies with an arrangement including “Baby Elephant Walk”, “Charade”, “Days
of Wine and Roses”, “Peter Gunn” and “The Pink Panther”. Be ready to join in
with finger-clicking when required!

 

Programme for Winter Concert on 25th January 2014.

1. K Platts, Sussex Overture

Commissioned by Brighton Education Authority in 1977, Kenneth Platts was keen that this piece, like many of his works, was playable by as many different combinations of players in as many different settings as possible. Unusual in the age of copyright law is a note from the composer in the score that encourages teachers and conductors to adapt parts as necessary to make the performance work. Platts’ contemporary Malcolm Arnold also wrote a piece entitled ‘Sussex Overture’.

2. J Armándola, Suite Ballet Moderne

Armándola (1880-1945) is a little-known composer whose output of light music for  smaller orchestras deserves to be better remembered. This piece was published in 1925. The set of parts we are using tonight has not been played since 1980. Descriptive in style and moving through different idioms with each movement, the piece is something of a short concert in itself. There are five movements: 1. Entrée (Mazurka), 2. Scherzo, 3. Waltz, 4. Intermezzo, 5. Finale.

3. F Spiegl and M Arlan, The Radio 4 UK Theme: an Arrangement of National Airs

This arrangement of airs from around the UK was heard for many years (until 2006) on Radio 4 first thing in the morning. It brings together traditional tunes from across Britain, including: What shall we do with the drunken sailor?; The Londonderry Air; Men of Harlech; Greensleeves; and Scotland the Brave.

GUESTS: The Middleton Festival Choir

An all-ladies choir based in Saltburn, Cleveland appear tonight with their musical director, Janet Howells.

4. H Berlioz, March to the Scaffold

Berlioz wrote his own programme note for the fourth movement of ‘Symphonie  Fantastique’: “Convinced that his love is unappreciated, the artist poisons himself with opium… He dreams that he has killed his beloved, that he is condemned, led to the scaffold and is witnessing his own execution… The procession advances to the sound of a march that is sometimes sombre and wild, and sometimes brilliant and solemn… At the end of the march, the first four bars of the idée fixe reappear like a final thought of love interrupted by the fatal blow when his head bounced down the steps.”

5. J Williams, Superman Returns

John Towner Williams Jr. is an American composer, conductor and pianist. He is  considered by many to have demonstrated over a career spanning more than six decades that he is one of the greatest film composers of all time. He has had a long association with director Steven Spielberg, composing the music for most of Spielberg’s major feature-length films.

6. F von Suppé, Light Cavalry Overture

Light Cavalry Overture is from Suppé’s operetta Light Cavalry, premiered in Vienna in 1866. Although the operetta is rarely performed or recorded, the overture is one of Suppé’s most popular compositions, and has achieved a quite distinct life of its own, divorced from the opera of which it originally formed a part. Many orchestras around the world have the piece in their repertoire, and the main theme of the overture has been quoted numerous times by musicians, cartoons and in adverts and other media.

7. R Matesky, Variations on a Famous Theme by Paganini

Many composers and arrangers have used the theme of Paganini’s 24th Caprice for solo violin to provide a wealth of interpretations and variations. Here are eight bracing  variations ranging from the pastoral to the martial, from a staccato dash to a Bach-inspired fugue. Matesky wanted his arrangement to provide challenges to every section of the “modern accomplished community orchestra”. It certainly does that!

Please welcome back the Middleton Festival Choir

8. J Offenbach, Selection from The Tales of Hoffmann

The French libretto to this opera was written by Jules Barbier, based on three short  stories by ETA Hoffmann who is the protagonist in the opera. Barbier and Michel Carré had previously written a play, Les contes fantastiques d’Hoffmann, which was produced at the Odéon Theatre in Paris in 1851 and which Offenbach had seen. Offenbach never lived to see the opera performed in full. Offenbach’s prelude is followed by a student’s song, a fairy tale, a stately minuet, a fluttering birdsong and a famous barcarolle before concluding with a tutti waltz.

9. R Rodgers, Ever Green Selection, arr. G Jones

Ever Green is a musical with music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart and a book by Benn Levy, based on an idea by Rodgers and Hart. The musical premiered on 3 December 1930 at the newly renovated Adelphi Theatre, London.

Our Summer Concert on 6th July 2013, with Guests The Egglescliffe Community Choir,  was a great success.

The programme was:-

A Short Overture – L. Leonard 

Though written in 1966, the classical influences in Leonard’s work are easier to hear.

 Two Symphonic Dances – E. Grieg, arr. C. Woodhouse

With a trademark use of dissonance and unusual modulation (which no other composers were really doing at the time) these dances take simple folk tunes as starting points and are unmistakably Grieg’s work. The bold “allegro” first movement is complemented by a gentler and more reflective “grazioso” second, which hints at some of the beautifully managed changes of mood that were to characterise Grieg’s later work.

March from Scipio – G. Handel, arr C. Woodhouse

 This march dates from 1726. Charles Woodhouse is one of the mid-twentieth century’s leading arrangers.

 Egglescliffe Community Choir

Two Zulu Songs: 1. Zuma 2. Syinya

Mingulay Boat song – Trad folk song

Selection from Carmen – G. Bizet, arr. D. de Groot 

Carmen received its first performance in Paris in 1875. Bizet died shortly after and would never know the international acclaim his work would subsequently receive. Combining passion and playfulness, this selection picks out the famous Habanera and Toreador’s Song, among others.

 Kiss Me Kate Selection – C. Porter 

Kiss Me Kate is a witty spoof of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. This selection from the musical, arranged by the composer himself, superbly showcases the melodic and polyrhythmic innovations of this giant of American music. Halfway through the selection we hear Porter’s 1948 song “So In Love” – which went on to be a key influence on the James Bond film scores and theme songs which remain so popular today.

 Overture: Fingal’s Cave – F. Mendelssohn, arr. A. Evans

The music was inspired by Mendelssohn’s visit to Scotland in 1829. The experience stayed with him and he didn’t commit his inspiration to manuscript until he was in Italy during 1830-31. Mendelssohn’s music has been called “polished, beautiful and harmonically harmless” – but the lie of the latter part of that description is laid bare by a wonderful and evocative marine inventiveness of harmony in this piece. The deep and swirling basses and cellos providing an ebbing and flowing structure which shifts underneath the music in an extraordinary way throughout. Light plays on water, waves swell and crash and mists hang in the music as we wait for changes of mood to develop like weather.

 Variations on a French Theme – S. Pavey

This melody will be familiar to many of you from the school assembly hall. The theme is followed by Fanfare, Rhumba, Pastorale and a flying Codetta.

Scenes Pittoresques – J. Massenet.

A distinctive voice in late nineteenth century music, music and composition teacher Massenet’s lyrical and identifiably French sound is sometimes left aside these days by those who hear in the music just a paler version of Wagner. But we thought this robust Marche, religiose Angelus (listen for the bell-like French Horns) and raucous Fete Boheme were worth rescuing from the back of a cupboard where a date stamp shows they have been languishing since 1978…

Egglescliffe Community Choir

Three American Spiritual Songs 1. Shenandoah 2. Deep River 3. Bring me little water Sylvie

Jerome Kern Melodies – J. Kern, arr H. Hall 

This adept arrangement features the woodwind and brass and combines some of Kern’s lesser known tunes to culminate in a full orchestral tribute to Ol’ Man River from Showboat first sung by Paul Robeson in 1927. It is 109 years since Kern wrote his first commercially successful song.

Souvenir d’Ukraine – Ferraris 

Little is known about the origins of this piece which was donated to the orchestra by its former leader, June Whyman. It seems to be influenced by the Hungarian czardas dance, but has a Ukrainian flavour of its own, with impassioned writing for solo cello and solo violin and a gradually accelerating middle allegretto that brings the whole piece back to mischievous life. At certain points, and particularly during the final chords, the orchestra is meant to sound like a Eastern European pub band.

 

Our Winter 2013 concert was at our new venue, The Dolphin Centre.  We and the audience were impressed by the acoustics and the setting.

The programme was:

A Boyce Suite, arr Benoy
Broadway Showstoppers, arr Sayre
A Life on the Ocean, arr Binding
Hungarian Rhapsody, Liszt arr Lotter
Joyeuse Marche, Chabrier
Orpheus in the Underworld Overture, Offenbach
Perpetuum Mobile, Strauss
Scherzo, Tchaikovsky arr Benoy
Sounds of Simon and Garfunkel, Simon.

Our guest artists were Locomotion Choir directed by Nikki Lycett.

Read a review on the “Press Comments” page

The previous concert was our final concert, at Darlington Arts Centre on  Saturday the 7th of July 2012, was fantastic.  Every audience seat was taken and all items in the concert produced tremendous applause and some of them were cheered.  At the end, an encore was called for and finally, a portion of the audience gave a standing ovation.

Our programme was

Brahms: Accademic Festival Overture
Mozart: Allegro in C (Church Sonata No 12)
Leslie Arnall: Ole Bull’s Rustic March
Chabrier: Espana
Strauss: Blue Danube Waltz
Jacobs: The Barber of Seville Goes to the Devil
Lionel Bart: Oliver Selection
Joplin: The Entertainer
Lawson (arr): The Nineteen Twenties
Sousa: Stars and Stripes Forever

Our guest artists, The Stockton Male Voice Choir produced a varied, beautiful performance

Sadly this was  our last concert at this venue and  the very last event there.  Unfortunately the Arts Centre is to be closed..

NEXT CONCERT Saturday 23rd Jan., 2016 7.30pm at the Dolphin Centre 01325 388406

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEXT CONCERT – Saturday 23rd Jan, 7.30pm at the Dolphin Centre 01325 406000

Programme for Summer Concert on 20th June 2015.

1. Hoe­down from ‘Rodeo’ – by Aaron Copland

‘Rodeo’ was written after the success of American composer Copland’s first great western ballet, ‘Billy the Kid’. Originally written for string orchestra, ‘Rodeo’ was later modified for full symphony  orchestra and was premiered in 1942. The ballet score draws heavily on traditional American folk tunes to give a Wild­West flavour. This piece is the last of four dance sections of the ballet and its pace ranges from relative calm with the sound of horses walking, through to them being energetically rounded up. In the ballet, Hoe­down was the finale but here it is a lively introduction to an eclectic programme of early music, pop music, war, harmony, drama, dance and cartoons.

2. Suite No.3 from Handel’s ‘Water Music’ – movements 12­15 (arranged by Andy Jackson)

George Frideric Handel was born in Saxony in 1685 but made his reputation in England as a composer of opera for the London stage, with his first visit to London in 1710. By 1717 he had settled permanently in England when he composed the joyous ‘Water Music’, having been commissioned by George I. The King had requested a concert on the River Thames; he watched from the royal barge as 50 musicians played on barges nearby. The original piece was made up of three orchestral suites. An eyewitness reported an ensemble of flutes, recorders, oboes, bassoons, trumpets, horns, violins, and basses. No mention of the timpani now generally included in performances.

3. Mars: The Bringer of War, from The Planets Op.32 – by Gustav Holst (arranged by Richard Ling)

Mars is the first of seven movements in ‘The Planets Suite’, which Holst began composing in 1914. He finished the suite in 1916 but the first complete public performance did not take place until 1920, conducted by Albert Coates in Queen’s Hall, London. This movement is powerful and menacing. Its unusual 5/4 time signature gives it a slightly unsettling feeling, with an underlying relentless rhythm. Initially, Holst scored most of the work for piano duet. He then scored the suite for a large orchestra, which is the form in which it became enormously popular. Holst’s suite was novel in the early part of the 20th century with its use of irregular themes, possibly influenced by composers such as Stravinsky and Schoenberg.

4. The Dancing Years Selection by Ivor Novello (arranged by Geo L Zalva)

Ivor Novello was an extremely successful British composer/performer/playwright from the 1920s until his death in 1951. ‘The Dancing Years’ (1939) was a musical with book and music by Novello and lyrics by Christopher Hassall. The show was one of the last great London stage hits before the outbreak of World War II. It ran for 187 performances until September of 1939 but was revived three years later and ran for just under 1,000 performances, which was an amazing success. The show’s popularity was helped by its escapist and romantic content. The musical was packed with nostalgia and catchy melodies – many of which will be familiar to audiences today.
5. Toccata and Fugue in D Minor – by Johann Sebastian Bach (arranged by Victor López)

This is probably the most well­known composition for the organ, and the orchestration draws on all the majestic characteristics and grandeur of the original. The two­part musical composition was probably written before 1708, and it starts with a typical approach to a toccata with many fast arpeggios. The fugue presents overlapping repetition of a principal theme in different melodic lines, which was a popular format in the late 1600s and early 1700s. A version of the composition featured in Walt Disney’s animated film Fantasia in 1940.

6. Dances from ‘Danserye’ – by Tielman Susato (arranged by Philip Lane)

Susato was a Flemish instrumentalist and music publisher working in the early­ to mid1550s. He wrote (and published) several books of music; most of the composer’s pieces are dance forms, generally comprising simple but artistic arrangements. This concert includes three movements – La Mourisque, Bergerette, Pavanne: La Battaille – from the suite. ‘La Mourisque’ is a jubilant ceremonial fanfare, and the final “Battle” dance here is set in a bright major key so it is stately rather than violent.

7. (Meet) The Flintstones – by William Hanna, Joseph Barbera and Hoyt Curtin (arranged by Bob Cerulli)

This speedy march, composed in 1961, was first used as the main theme in the third episode of the third series of The Flintstones (1962­1963) replacing the theme tune ‘Rise and Shine’. The original US series ran from 1960 to 1966 with various spin­offs, and it was one of the more musical animated TV shows. Many episodes featured original songs (composed by Hoyt Curtin) or slightly rewritten popular recordings of the day, performed by Fred, Barney, or a special guest star. The original version for this theme tune was recorded by a 22 ­piece jazz band and a five- voice singing group.

8. Thunderbirds March – by Barry Gray (arranged by Richard Ling)

The Thunderbirds TV series was one of the most popular children’s programmes in the 1960s. Barry Gray wrote the brass­dominated theme music specifically for the series in response to Gerry Anderson’s request that the main theme should have a “military feel”. Gray joined Anderson’s company AP Films in 1956 and scored its first marionette puppet television series, The Adventures of Twizzle. He composed themes to all the other “Supermarionation” productions, including Fireball XL5, Stingray, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons and Joe 90. Gray used identifying themes extensively, with each machine in the Thunderbirds television show having its own tune.

9. California Dreamin’ – by John Phillips and Michelle Gilliam (arranged by Willis Schaefer)

This hit by The Mamas & The Papas was written in 1963 when Michelle and John Phillips were living in New York and it was a particularly cold winter, at least by Michelle’s standards because she was from California. In 1966, the song shot into the US Billboard chart’s Top 10. The band became hugely popular by singing beautiful four­part harmonies, which are reflected in this orchestration. With its summery and relaxed sound, California Dreamin’ is a folk­rock song that was slightly unusual for the time because it didn’t have the conventional guitar solo. Instead, the instrumental solo was by an alto flute, which is larger than a regular flute and plays in a lower register. In this version, the familiar solo is shared among most sections but features the alto saxophone and trumpet.

Programme for special guests: The Darlington Clarinet Ensemble

i. Sortie in Eb – by Louis James Alfred Lefébure­Wély (arranged by Christopher Hooker)
ii. Rikudim – by Jan Van der Roost (arranged by Maarten Jense)
iii. Three Dances – by Guy Woolfenden
iv. Two Cinematographic Impressions – by James Rae

Programme for Winter Concert on 24th Jan 2015.

Audience Comments

At this concert we asked our audience to respond to a feedback form.  Below are some typical replies:

Wonderful variety and different musical periods.  Ms S

Lovely programme!   Mrs D

It’s gratifying to know Darlington has so much talent.  Ms W

(I enjoyed) all of it, but Star Wars was best.  Ms C

We thoroughly enjoyed the Iolanthe and the encore!  Mr and Mrs W

Evening and venue most enjoyable!  Good choice of music, lovely atmosphere.  Ms W

Thoroughly enjoyed a new experience – excellent night.  Anon

Friendly faces, interesting descriptions of music, warm welcome, great venue, chilled

atmosphere.  Mr S

Whole thing brilliant – Thank you!  Ms M

Super concert.  Excellent orchestra.  Ms E

1. Prelude from the Te Deum: Marc Antoine Charpentier, arranged by Nigel Wicken

Charpentier composed a large quantity of church music, including six Te Deum settings, although only four of them have survived. It is thought that this composition was written in the late 17th century. In the 20th century, the prelude became familiar to many people as it is the theme music for the European Broadcasting Union – the organisation responsible for the Eurovision Song Contest.

2. Variations on a Shaker Melody: Aaron Copland

The variations use folk music for the basic material and the piece is an excerpt from ‘Appalachian Spring’, which was composed in 1943-44 as a ballet. The original scoring called for a chamber ensemble of 13 instruments. Copland rearranged the ballet work as an orchestral suite, preserving most of the music. The ballet and orchestral work were well received and are generally credited as popularising the composer – especially as ‘Appalachian Spring’ won the Pulitzer Prize in 1945.

3. My Fair Lady: Frederick Loewe, arranged by John Whitney

The medley includes ‘I Could Have Danced All Night’, ‘On the Street Where You Live’, ‘I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face’ and ‘Get Me to the Church on Time’. The great Lerner and Loewe stage show (which made the transfer to film in 1964, starring Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison and Stanley Holloway) tells the story of a cockney flower-girl’s transformation into the pride of London society. John Whitney has taken highlights from this favourite of stage and screen and presented them in a variety of styles and textures from waltzes to the soft-shoe shuffle.

Guests ‘Brass Beneath’

Celestial Suite’ by Stephen Bulla

4. A Light Syncopated Piece: Eric Coates

Born in the 19th century, Coates become one of the most successful light-music composers of the early 20th century. His work uses melody, counter melodies, orchestration and it integrates ragtime and jazz music. This syncopated piece shows hallmarks of popular dance-band styles of the period, with rhythms in the bass instruments beneath chromatic ‘decorating’ melodies.

5. Larghetto and Presto: JW Hertel, arranged by AW Benoy

Johann Wilhelm Hertel was born in Eisenach in 1727 and was the third generation of a family of musicians. He was a prolific composer active in the latter half of?the 18th century and was notable in his day for his sacred works, and concertos for keyboard and violin. These two movements display a gift for elegant melody. The original versions were scored for strings, horns and continuo, with flutes and bassoons in the Larghetto and flutes and oboes in the Presto. In this arrangement, the movements have been rescored for a full orchestra.

6. Iolanthe Overture: Arthur Sullivan

Sullivan wrote the music for 14 comic operas with lyricist/librettist Gilbert between 1871 and 1896. ‘Iolanthe’ (1882) was the first of the Gilbert & Sullivan comic operas to open at the Savoy theatre. It’s an inventive and sometimes chaotic story of fairies, mortals, mistaken identity and peers of the realm – and the overture conveys the varying pace of the plot.

7. Highlights from Evita: Andrew Lloyd Webber, arranged by Bob Lowden?

Tim Rice and Lloyd Webber began writing the musical show based on the life of Eva Péron in 1974. The first stage production opened on 1978 in London, where?it ran for eight years. This stage show also made the transfer to film in a version made in 1996. The story is about Eva Péron, wife of the Argentinian president in the 1940s, who rose from poverty to power and who provoked extremes of emotion in politicians and people generally, from love to loathing. The score reflects this contradiction and moves from samba rhythms to soaring powerful themes.

Guests ‘Brass Beneath’

Keystone Chops’ by Lennie Niehaus ‘Benediction’ by John Stevens ‘Mission Impossible’ by Lalo Schiffrin

8. Sicilienne: Gabriel Fauré, arranged by David Stone

Fauré’s work bridges the gap between romanticism of the 19th century and modernism of the 20th. In this piece the composer employs subtle harmonic changes and melody. It began life in March 1893 as incidental music for a revival of Molière’s play Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. The producing theatre went bankrupt so the music was incomplete until Fauré arranged it for cello and piano in 1898. Given its subsequent success, Fauré included it in his Pelléas et Mélisande Suite, which he reworked several times but the version including this Sicilienne was first published in 1909.

9. Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith: John Williams, arranged by Victor Lopez?

The film Episode III: Revenge of the Sith was released in 2005, along with its soundtrack, which makes this the only 21st-century piece in the programme. The film was intended to link the two trilogies, and the music achieves this by using some familiar themes from the early films but with the darker more menacing edge of the later films. This collection of music from Williams’ blockbuster soundtrack includes ‘Star Wars (Main Title)’, ‘The Battle of the Heroes,’ and ‘A New Hope’. The medley also draws on the highly percussive themes universally familiar from the 30-year history of the Star Wars film saga.

Encore: ‘Brass Beneath’ with Orchestra

Sullivan: The Policenman’s Song from Pirates of Penzance

 

Programme for Summer Concert on 5th July 2014. 

1. A Supper with Suppé: C. Morena

Despite the poor pun, the title alludes to the piece’s selection of items from
overtures, comic operas and operettas by the Austrian composer Franz von Suppé.
Think of it as a musical buffet or smorgasbord that prepares your musical palat$
the liveliness and diversity you will find in the rest of tonight’s programme.
Darlington

2. Symphony No.1 (first movement): Ludvig van Beethoven

The beginning of this symphony anchors the young Beethoven firmly in the
classical tradition with a slow introduction before the first movement begins
properly. But the use of an off-key chord as the first note ruffled feathers of$
established critics when it was premiered in 1800. After that attention-grabbin$
12 bars, the first movement follows the familiar sonata-allegro plan.

3. The Empire Strikes Back Medley: John Williams, arranged
by John C Whitney

This arrangement uses five iconic tunes from John Williams’ incredible score fo$
film The Empire Strikes Back. Originally released in 1980, it was the second fi$
and the fifth chapter in the Star Wars series by George Lucas and this piece
includes: “May the Force be with You”; “Yoda’s Theme”; “Han Solo and the Prince$
“The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme)”; and “Star Wars Main Theme”.

Guests The Sans Pareil Singers

The Sans Pareil Singers were set up as a community choir in 2009. The group’s
members are from all walks of life and all ages (30s to 80s) and they sing music
from all periods and styles – pop to classical, show tunes to sacred and folk
music. Rehearsals take place every Wednesday evening at All Saints Church in
Hurworth (www.sanspareilsingers.org).

4. Gopak: A Khachaturian, arranged by Jack Lanchbery

This piece is one of the dances from the ballet “Gayaneh”, which was first
performed in 1942. It’s the story of a young woman who lives on a collective fa$
of which her father is the chairman, and she helps entrap a spy attempting to s$
Soviet geological secrets. The original Communist plot has been through several
rewrites but what remains is Khachaturian’s use of Armenian, Eastern European
and Middle Eastern folk music in his work. This exuberant Cossack dance (or
gopak) has helped make the music of Gayaneh popular worldwide. The full suite
also includes the “Sabre Dance” and “Adagio”, previously played in concert by
Darlington Orchestra in recent years.

5. The Muppet Medley: arranged by Bruce Chase

Stars of multiple television series, commercials and films based on the classics
since the 1950s, their most recent appearance is in the 2014 movie Muppets Most
Wanted in which The Muppets find themselves embroiled in a European jewel-
heist caper. In addition over the years, the Muppet characters and programmes
have produced a variety of infectiously catchy musical numbers, many of which
appear in this short medley.

6. Così fan tutte overture: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The opera Così was first produced in Vienna in January 1790 and was initially
successful but later, in the light of Romantic idealism and then “Victorian val$
it was perceived as at best trivial and at worst immoral. But more recently it $
Concert been recognised as a work full of insights into human nature, and as ha$
Mozart’s finest scores. It’s rich in melodic invention and instrumental colouri$
overture opens with a brief slow introduction leading into an effervescent pres$

7. Fascinating Rhythm: George and Ira Gershwin, arranged by
John Whitney

Written in 1924, this song has been performed frequently and recorded dozens
of times in its 90-year history by many artists including Ella Fitzgerald, Tommy
Dorsey and Jamie Cullum. This version is written more like a concert overture t$
a jazz performance and although it is an unusual arrangement ? relying heavily
on percussion for that fascinating rhythm of the title ? the original form of t$
Gershwins’ tune is still easily recognisable throughout.

8. Jeux d’enfants: Georges Bizet, arranged by Herman Finck

Jeux d’enfants was originally a suite of 12 miniatures evoking the simple games$
young children, written for a piano duet. Bizet arranged five of the movements $
orchestra and here we’ll play three: “Marche” is a lively miniature march suita$
for toy soldiers; “La Toupie” begins with a fortissimo chord that sets a top in$
then maintains a spinning figure in the background of a main theme; and “Le Bal$
an effervescent gallop that’s full of energy, as an exuberant finale.

9. A Tribute to Henry Mancini: arranged by Calvin Custer

Henry Mancini was best known for his television and film scores, and his
style is more akin to Big Band than the symphony orchestra. His music often
includes a drum kit, perhaps with brushes and a Latin percussion set, and tunes
may employ blues-influenced chords and melodies augmented with jazz-style
improvisation riffs on various solo instruments. This medley salutes the master$
melodies with an arrangement including “Baby Elephant Walk”, “Charade”, “Days
of Wine and Roses”, “Peter Gunn” and “The Pink Panther”. Be ready to join in
with finger-clicking when required!

 

Programme for Winter Concert on 25th January 2014.

1. K Platts, Sussex Overture

Commissioned by Brighton Education Authority in 1977, Kenneth Platts was keen that this piece, like many of his works, was playable by as many different combinations of players in as many different settings as possible. Unusual in the age of copyright law is a note from the composer in the score that encourages teachers and conductors to adapt parts as necessary to make the performance work. Platts’ contemporary Malcolm Arnold also wrote a piece entitled ‘Sussex Overture’.

2. J Armándola, Suite Ballet Moderne

Armándola (1880-1945) is a little-known composer whose output of light music for  smaller orchestras deserves to be better remembered. This piece was published in 1925. The set of parts we are using tonight has not been played since 1980. Descriptive in style and moving through different idioms with each movement, the piece is something of a short concert in itself. There are five movements: 1. Entrée (Mazurka), 2. Scherzo, 3. Waltz, 4. Intermezzo, 5. Finale.

3. F Spiegl and M Arlan, The Radio 4 UK Theme: an Arrangement of National Airs

This arrangement of airs from around the UK was heard for many years (until 2006) on Radio 4 first thing in the morning. It brings together traditional tunes from across Britain, including: What shall we do with the drunken sailor?; The Londonderry Air; Men of Harlech; Greensleeves; and Scotland the Brave.

GUESTS: The Middleton Festival Choir

An all-ladies choir based in Saltburn, Cleveland appear tonight with their musical director, Janet Howells.

4. H Berlioz, March to the Scaffold

Berlioz wrote his own programme note for the fourth movement of ‘Symphonie  Fantastique’: “Convinced that his love is unappreciated, the artist poisons himself with opium… He dreams that he has killed his beloved, that he is condemned, led to the scaffold and is witnessing his own execution… The procession advances to the sound of a march that is sometimes sombre and wild, and sometimes brilliant and solemn… At the end of the march, the first four bars of the idée fixe reappear like a final thought of love interrupted by the fatal blow when his head bounced down the steps.”

5. J Williams, Superman Returns

John Towner Williams Jr. is an American composer, conductor and pianist. He is  considered by many to have demonstrated over a career spanning more than six decades that he is one of the greatest film composers of all time. He has had a long association with director Steven Spielberg, composing the music for most of Spielberg’s major feature-length films.

6. F von Suppé, Light Cavalry Overture

Light Cavalry Overture is from Suppé’s operetta Light Cavalry, premiered in Vienna in 1866. Although the operetta is rarely performed or recorded, the overture is one of Suppé’s most popular compositions, and has achieved a quite distinct life of its own, divorced from the opera of which it originally formed a part. Many orchestras around the world have the piece in their repertoire, and the main theme of the overture has been quoted numerous times by musicians, cartoons and in adverts and other media.

7. R Matesky, Variations on a Famous Theme by Paganini

Many composers and arrangers have used the theme of Paganini’s 24th Caprice for solo violin to provide a wealth of interpretations and variations. Here are eight bracing  variations ranging from the pastoral to the martial, from a staccato dash to a Bach-inspired fugue. Matesky wanted his arrangement to provide challenges to every section of the “modern accomplished community orchestra”. It certainly does that!

Please welcome back the Middleton Festival Choir

8. J Offenbach, Selection from The Tales of Hoffmann

The French libretto to this opera was written by Jules Barbier, based on three short  stories by ETA Hoffmann who is the protagonist in the opera. Barbier and Michel Carré had previously written a play, Les contes fantastiques d’Hoffmann, which was produced at the Odéon Theatre in Paris in 1851 and which Offenbach had seen. Offenbach never lived to see the opera performed in full. Offenbach’s prelude is followed by a student’s song, a fairy tale, a stately minuet, a fluttering birdsong and a famous barcarolle before concluding with a tutti waltz.

9. R Rodgers, Ever Green Selection, arr. G Jones

Ever Green is a musical with music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart and a book by Benn Levy, based on an idea by Rodgers and Hart. The musical premiered on 3 December 1930 at the newly renovated Adelphi Theatre, London.

Our Summer Concert on 6th July 2013, with Guests The Egglescliffe Community Choir,  was a great success.

The programme was:-

A Short Overture – L. Leonard 

Though written in 1966, the classical influences in Leonard’s work are easier to hear.

 Two Symphonic Dances – E. Grieg, arr. C. Woodhouse

With a trademark use of dissonance and unusual modulation (which no other composers were really doing at the time) these dances take simple folk tunes as starting points and are unmistakably Grieg’s work. The bold “allegro” first movement is complemented by a gentler and more reflective “grazioso” second, which hints at some of the beautifully managed changes of mood that were to characterise Grieg’s later work.

March from Scipio – G. Handel, arr C. Woodhouse

 This march dates from 1726. Charles Woodhouse is one of the mid-twentieth century’s leading arrangers.

 Egglescliffe Community Choir

Two Zulu Songs: 1. Zuma 2. Syinya

Mingulay Boat song – Trad folk song

Selection from Carmen – G. Bizet, arr. D. de Groot 

Carmen received its first performance in Paris in 1875. Bizet died shortly after and would never know the international acclaim his work would subsequently receive. Combining passion and playfulness, this selection picks out the famous Habanera and Toreador’s Song, among others.

 Kiss Me Kate Selection – C. Porter 

Kiss Me Kate is a witty spoof of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. This selection from the musical, arranged by the composer himself, superbly showcases the melodic and polyrhythmic innovations of this giant of American music. Halfway through the selection we hear Porter’s 1948 song “So In Love” – which went on to be a key influence on the James Bond film scores and theme songs which remain so popular today.

 Overture: Fingal’s Cave – F. Mendelssohn, arr. A. Evans

The music was inspired by Mendelssohn’s visit to Scotland in 1829. The experience stayed with him and he didn’t commit his inspiration to manuscript until he was in Italy during 1830-31. Mendelssohn’s music has been called “polished, beautiful and harmonically harmless” – but the lie of the latter part of that description is laid bare by a wonderful and evocative marine inventiveness of harmony in this piece. The deep and swirling basses and cellos providing an ebbing and flowing structure which shifts underneath the music in an extraordinary way throughout. Light plays on water, waves swell and crash and mists hang in the music as we wait for changes of mood to develop like weather.

 Variations on a French Theme – S. Pavey

This melody will be familiar to many of you from the school assembly hall. The theme is followed by Fanfare, Rhumba, Pastorale and a flying Codetta.

Scenes Pittoresques – J. Massenet.

A distinctive voice in late nineteenth century music, music and composition teacher Massenet’s lyrical and identifiably French sound is sometimes left aside these days by those who hear in the music just a paler version of Wagner. But we thought this robust Marche, religiose Angelus (listen for the bell-like French Horns) and raucous Fete Boheme were worth rescuing from the back of a cupboard where a date stamp shows they have been languishing since 1978…

Egglescliffe Community Choir

Three American Spiritual Songs 1. Shenandoah 2. Deep River 3. Bring me little water Sylvie

Jerome Kern Melodies – J. Kern, arr H. Hall 

This adept arrangement features the woodwind and brass and combines some of Kern’s lesser known tunes to culminate in a full orchestral tribute to Ol’ Man River from Showboat first sung by Paul Robeson in 1927. It is 109 years since Kern wrote his first commercially successful song.

Souvenir d’Ukraine – Ferraris 

Little is known about the origins of this piece which was donated to the orchestra by its former leader, June Whyman. It seems to be influenced by the Hungarian czardas dance, but has a Ukrainian flavour of its own, with impassioned writing for solo cello and solo violin and a gradually accelerating middle allegretto that brings the whole piece back to mischievous life. At certain points, and particularly during the final chords, the orchestra is meant to sound like a Eastern European pub band.

 

Our Winter 2013 concert was at our new venue, The Dolphin Centre.  We and the audience were impressed by the acoustics and the setting.

The programme was:

A Boyce Suite, arr Benoy
Broadway Showstoppers, arr Sayre
A Life on the Ocean, arr Binding
Hungarian Rhapsody, Liszt arr Lotter
Joyeuse Marche, Chabrier
Orpheus in the Underworld Overture, Offenbach
Perpetuum Mobile, Strauss
Scherzo, Tchaikovsky arr Benoy
Sounds of Simon and Garfunkel, Simon.

Our guest artists were Locomotion Choir directed by Nikki Lycett.

Read a review on the “Press Comments” page

The previous concert was our final concert, at Darlington Arts Centre on  Saturday the 7th of July 2012, was fantastic.  Every audience seat was taken and all items in the concert produced tremendous applause and some of them were cheered.  At the end, an encore was called for and finally, a portion of the audience gave a standing ovation.

Our programme was

Brahms: Accademic Festival Overture
Mozart: Allegro in C (Church Sonata No 12)
Leslie Arnall: Ole Bull’s Rustic March
Chabrier: Espana
Strauss: Blue Danube Waltz
Jacobs: The Barber of Seville Goes to the Devil
Lionel Bart: Oliver Selection
Joplin: The Entertainer
Lawson (arr): The Nineteen Twenties
Sousa: Stars and Stripes Forever

Our guest artists, The Stockton Male Voice Choir produced a varied, beautiful performance

Sadly this was  our last concert at this venue and  the very last event there.  Unfortunately the Arts Centre is to be closed..

NEXT CONCERT  27th January 2018 at the Dolphin Centre 01325 406000

 

 

 

 

 

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