18 November 2017
Guest Conductor : Lewis Gaston
Walton : Spitfire Prelude and Fugue
Britten : Sinfonia da Requiem
Winters : The Serious Side of Madness
Vaughan Williams : Symphony No. 2 (London)
The FSO’s new season begins with works by four 20th/21st-century British composers. Vaughan Williams' London Symphony, the main work of the evening, is based on some sketches he had made for a symphonic poem about London. With the encouragement of his friend and fellow compsoser, George Butterworth, to whom the work is dedicated, he decided to "throw them into symphonic form" (Vaughan Williams' words). The resulting work was first performed in 1914 but was subject to several revisions over subsequent years and the version we are performing is nearly 20 minutes shorter than the original. The other major work of the evening is Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem, which is the composer's largest purely orchestral work for the concert hall. It was commissioned by the Japanese government to mark the 2,600th anniversary of the founding of the Japanese Empire. Although it was rejected by the Japanese authorities, it has remained a popular part of the orchestral repertoire. We are also very excited to be playing a work by leading contemporary British composer, Elizabeth Winters, our very own Principal Viola. The piece is curiously titled but we will leave it to Elizabeth on the night to introduce and explain the inspiration behind her music. The Walton Spitfire Prelude and Fugue completes the programme with a nod to the Orchestra's aeronautical heritage.