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CSO Sunday Series Royal Splendour


Sun 25 Mar 2012, 3:00pm–5:00pm

Where: Middleton Grange Performing Arts Centre, 50 Acacia Avenue, Middleton, Christchurch

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Adult A Reserve: $25.00
  • Child: $10.00
  • Additional fees may apply

Tom Woods: conductor
Galyna Zelinska: cello

Handel - Water Music Suite No 2
Haydn - Cello Concerto No 1
Britten - Variations On A Theme Of Frank Bridge

George Frederick Handel's three suites were composed to serenade George 1 as he was barged on the River Thames on July 17 1717. The concert was performed by an orchestra of 50 musicians placed on a second barge. The orchestra accompanied the monarch during his slow progress up the river. George enjoyed the performance so much he demanded that the increasingly exhausted (and possibly seasick) musicians play three times during the evening. Apparently the music was also a success amongst the hundreds of people crowding the river banks to witness the spectacle – and who can blame them for enjoying this sparkling festive music? Filled with Baroque swagger and tunefulness, this is Handel at his best.

In 1961, musicologist Oldrich Pulkert found a copy of the score to a lost Haydn cello concerto in the Prague National Museum. While some experts doubt its authenticity, most are convinced that this is indeed a work by Haydn, composed between 1761 to 1765 for his friend and principal cellist with Prince Nicolaus Esterhazy's orchestra, Joseph Weigl. Predating the D major cello concerto by 20 years, the work shows Haydn at the height of his powers. The three movements are in sonata form with a tranquil adagio and a crisp final movement. It's a virtuoso piece which places considerable demands on the soloist but remains a constant delight for audiences. Spontaneous, tuneful and graceful, this is one of the finest instrumental works to emerge from Haydn's years at the Esterhazy court.

The 1937 composition Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge is a student's tribute to his teacher. Britten studied with Frank Bridge, establishing a close bond reflected in the dedication to the variations "to FB. A tribute with affection and admiration."

Bridge was present during rehearsals before its concert premiere at the 1937 Salzburg Festival. Taking his cue from the second of Bridge's Three Idylls for string quartet, Britten completed an initial sketch for the work in 10 days with the score completed in July, two months after he had been initially commissioned by the Boyd Neel Orchestra. Its ten sections are individual reflections of Bridge's character and personality and deft imitations of the styles of other composers including Ravel and Stravinsky.

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