Saturday 11 November 2023 7.45pm
Princes Hall, Aldershot, GU11 1NX – Venue Information
Conductor: William Carslake
Soloist: Charlie Jones (Tuba)
Bacewicz: Overture (composed 1943)
Gregson: Tuba Concerto
Strauss: Serenade for Winds
Brahms: Piano Quartet in G minor (orchestrated by Schoenberg)
The FSO’s 2023 season starts with a vibrant and varied programme, showcasing two contemporary composers alongside two classical stalwarts, albeit one with a twist!
The concert opens with Polish female composer Grażyna Bacewicz’s optimistic Overture (composed 1943), a work that promises hope and victory, with its military fanfares and the morse code for “V” beaten on timpani. A trailblazer in her time, Bacewicz studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris, before returning to her native Poland and continuing to compose throughout Germany’s occupation during World War Two.
We then welcome renowned British tuba player, Charlie Jones, to perform Gregson’s popular concerto. Gregson’s beautiful work shines a light on an instrument that more usually takes a back seat in the orchestra, with long lyrical passages as well as snappy, jazz-like tunes.
The Serenade for Winds is one of Richard Strauss’s earlier works, and continues the theme of highlighting different sections of the full orchestra, this time paired woodwind, horns, and bass. In turns lyrical and light, it made Strauss’s contemporaries sit up and listen and helped establish his reputation as a leading composer of the time.
The concert concludes with Brahms’ wonderful Piano Quartet in G Minor, arranged for orchestra by Arnold Schoenberg. It is beautifully done, so much so that on its first performance a lady is reputed to have opined that she couldn’t see what the “. . . problem is with that Schoenberg . . . that was quite melodic”. Schoenberg himself studied Brahms for years, and wrote that he had been faithful to the original piece and Brahms’ intentions; and that, unlike in quartet form, when the pianist invariably drowned out the strings, his arrangement allowed all the parts to be heard! It is a glorious, almost symphonic end to an exciting programme, and we look forward to seeing you there.