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Preludes - The Winter Concert

Saturday 7 November 2015
United Reformed Church,
Southernhay, Exeter

Preludes - The Winter Concert

Les Preludes - Symphonic Poem - Franz Liszt

Concerto for Clarinet & String Orchestra - Gerald Finzi (soloist: William White)

'Voices of Remembrance' - Laura Rossi

This November concert features three deeply contrasting works. The first is one of Gerald Finzi’s most popular and immediately appealing pieces - The Clarinet Concerto - with soloist William White.

The second is a concert classic – Les Preludes by Liszt - whose main theme was used for the memorable tune in the Saturday morning children’s cinema series 'Flash Gordon conquers the Universe’, and the third is a most beautiful combination of words and music - ‘Voices of Remembrance’ - by the very successful local composer who has played with us in ESO - Laura Rossi.

This will in fact be the first live world performance of 'voices of Remembrance'  - another very good reason to be present.

The poems in this performance will be spoken by Felicity Cawthra and Kenneth Parry. We shall also be joined by the St. David's Singers for the Rossi, whose conductor is, of course, Mark Perry - the orchestra's assistant conductor.

There is a quote from the 'attributed to Lammartine' passage that is associated with Liszt's Les Préludes - 'What else is our life but a series of preludes to that unknown Hymn,the first and solemn note of which is intoned by death'. It was, we think, actually written by Princess Wittgenstein.

November is always a time for winter drawing in, and any concert around this time may well think of such thoughts. This concert is in no way a remembrance concert - more a thought-provoking selection of pieces to inspire, pause for thought, and lift us from the mundane world around us.

Liszt's Les Préludes needs no introduction and is full of brooding tension, immense tunes and passionate outbursts. 

William White                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Finzi was one of our great 20th century composers, and I have had the great pleasure to visit his house; meet family members, and examine in his study, at his desk. For clarinettists, the 5 bagatelles are very popular and the first movement - prelude- very often played. However he wrote the Clarinet Concerto late on in life, a short while before being told he had incurable Hodgkin's disease.

Voices of Remembrance by Laura Rossi may be bound up by war images but also reaches much further into the dedication, bravery and high levels to which humans aspire as well as remembering the low ones, and I shall write more later. However several of the poems begin with such words as 'Break of day','at Dawn' and 'Into battle' and once again the prelude idea springs to mind

So we are thinking of this concert as a real excursion into that opening passage - 'but a series of preludes' - including a live world premiere. Once again, as with all our concerts, our audience and supporters can be assured of magnificent music; very little to frighten in novelty, and an evening to remember. I hope to welcome you again,or for the first time,to this one. Brian