Programme ‘Autumnal Colours’ 24th September 2011
G.F Handel Concerto Grosso, Op. 6, no. 12 in B -flat Minor
1. Largo 2. Allegro 3. Aria 4. Largo 5. Allegro
P. Reade Victorian Kitchen Garden Suite
Carol Basden (Clarinet) Mary Morley (Harp) and Strings
1. Prelude 2. Spring 3. Mists
4. Exotica 5. Summer
J.S. Bach Concerto in A Major
Ian Crowther (Oboe d’amore) and Strings
1. Allegro 2. Larghetto 3. Allegro ma non tanto
G. Tartini Concertino
Carol Basden (Clarinet) and Strings
Arr. G. Jacob 1. Grave 2. Adagio 3. Adagio 4. Allegro
G. Holst St Paul’s Suite
1. Jig 2. Ostinato 3.Intermezzo 4. Finale
A. Ridout Concertino for Oboe and Strings
R. Binge The Watermill
W. Walton Film Music to Henry V
1. Passacagila – Death of Falstaff 2. Touch her Soft Lips and Part
G. F. Handel Arrival of the Queen of Sheba
Arr Oboe and Clarinet
G.F Handel, Concerto Grosso, Op.6, No. 12 in B-flat Minor
Handel always wrote with an eye to popularity and bank balance, and his Concerti Grossi, Opus 6, or “Grand Concertos”, were no exception to this rule. Written in 1739, they tapped into the British public’s enduring enthusiasm for Arcangelo Corelli’s set of 12 concerti grossi. Handel emulated Corelli’s scoring, writing for strings, optional oboes, and continuo, with a soloist group of two violins and a cello. He even gave his set the same opus number. However, the emulation stopped there, as the music itself is typical Handel, with its mix of variety, innovation and self-plagiarism.
P. Reade, Victorian Kitchen Garden Suite.
Paul Reade wrote this suite for the BBC series in 1989. The Suite comprises of five charming vignettes, in which the melllifluos combination of clarinet and harp and evokes the innocence of an era untainted by synthetic fertilizers or genetic modification. This evening we perform the arrangement for clarinet, harp and string orchestra.
J.S. Bach, Concerto in A Major
It was a common 18th-century practice for composers to rework their own music (and that of others, in those pre-copyright days) to fill a new need. Among the best known of such pieces in the Bach canon are the concertos for harpsichord. The harpsichord concerto were based on works Bach wrote for his duties at the court of Anhalt-Cothen between 1717 and 1723, where he was responsible for the instrumental rather than the sacred music. Most of the model works were originally for solo violin, but the esteemed English musicologist Sir Donald Tovey suggested that the Concerto in A major (BWV 1055) was written originally for oboe d’amore. Though the original manuscript of the oboe d’amore concerto is lost, the score of the harpsichord concerto based on it clearly differentiates between the neat notation copied form the earlier version and the ornaments and elaborations later written spontaneously to adapt the solo line to the keyboard.
The opening movement of the Oboe d’amore Concerto begins with a vivacious orchestral ritornello whose returns, like the supporting pillars of a cathedral, give the form both its structure and its name. Between the columns of the ritornelli, like sparkling stained glass windows, the solo instrument develops a complementary motive. The regular phrases, disposed in eight-measure blocks, give this movement a dance-like quality. The following Larghetto offers a stark contrast in mood from the jolly opening movement. Above a chromatically descending, passacaglia-like bass, the soloist intones a mournful song full of rich emotion. The jubilant finale, modeled perhaps on the gigue, returns the dancing motion and high spirit of the first movement.
G. Tartini, Concertino
Guiseppe Tartini, violinist and composer, was born on April 8, 1692, in Pirano, Istria (west of Venice) and died on February 26, 1770 in Padua, Italy (east of Venice). Like Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741), another Italian violinist/composer of the Baroque Period (1600-1750), Tartini studied to be a priest; however, his marriage in 1710 ended that career.
In addition to composing (entirely for the violin, with the exception of one flute concerto), Tartini also wrote books on music theory and violin performance, including the interpretation of ornamentation (trills, mordents, etc.). This Concertino (a small “concerto”) is made up of movements from two of Tartini’s violin sonatas.
G. Holst, St Paul’s Suite
Around 1904 Holst was appointed Musical Director at St. Paul’s Girls’ School, Hammersmith, his biggest teaching post and one which he greatly enjoyed, remaining there until his death. When a music wing was added onto the St. Paul’s Girls’ School, a sound-proof teaching room was built for Holst. For the nearly twenty years of his remaining lifetime, this was where he wrote nearly all of his music. The St. Paul’s Suite for the school orchestra is the first composition he wrote there. Originally written for strings, Holst added wind parts to include an entire orchestra if necessary.
The first movement begins with a robust “Jig” in alternating 6/8 and 9/8 time. Holst introduces a contrasting theme, then skillfully develops and blends the two themes. The “Ostinato,” marked Presto, opens with a figure played by the second violins which continues throughout the movement, then a solo viola introduces the principal theme. In the “Intermezzo” a solo violin introduces the principal theme over pizzicato chords, then the solo viola joins the violin in a duet. After an animated section the original melody is again heard, now performed by a quartet of soloists. Finally the folksong “Dargason” is introduced very softly, then cellos enter playing the beautiful “Greensleeves” and the two folksongs are played together to end the suite.
A. Ridout, Concertino for Oboe and Strings
Born at West Wickham, Greater London, England, Alan Ridout studied briefly at the Guildhall School of Music before commencing four years of study at the Royal College of Music, London with Herbert Howells and Gordon Jacob. He was later taught by Michael Tippett, Peter Fricker and Henk Badings. He went on to teach at the Royal College of Music, the University of Birmingham, the University of Cambridge, the University of London, and at The King’s School, Canterbury. His style is mostly tonal, though in younger life he wrote some microtonal works. Alan Ridout lived for much of his life in Canterbury. He died in Caen, France in 1996
R. Binge, The Watermill
Ronald Binge was born in a working-class neighborhood in Derby. In his early life he was a cinema organist and later started working in summer orchestras in British seaside resorts, for which he learned to play the piano accordion. His skill as a cinema organist was put to good use, and he played the latter instrument in Mantovani’s first band. Binge was interested in the technicalities of composition and was most famous as the inventor of the “cascading strings” effect which is the signature sound of the Mantovani orchestra, much used in their arrangements of popular music. genre.
Binge is known for Sailing By (1963), the BBC Radio 4 Shipping Forecast theme. Other well-known pieces include Miss Melanie, Like Old Time and The Watermill (1958) for oboe and strings.
W. Walton, Film Music to Henry V
Although in his early years William Walton was considered an enfant terrible, he is now regarded as one of Britain’s premiere composers. Walton wrote music of substance whilst achieving popular acceptance and his voice is distinctive, romantic and memorable. The scores to the trilogy of the Shakespeare films, acted in and directed by Laurence Olivier were particularly popular. Henry V was released in 1944 and Walton’s score was nominated for and Academy Award and independent performances and recordings flourished. Within the score there are two slow pieces scored only for string, which we are performing this evening, the Passacaglia accompanying the death of Falstaff: and Pistol’s farewell before the embarkation to France, Touch her soft lips and part.