Past concerts

  • 8 December 2017

    Sibelius Karelia Suite
    Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 1 in F# minor
    Sibelius Symphony No. 1, Op. 39 in E minor 
    Friday 8 December 2017, 7:30pm
    St James's Church, 197 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9LL

    Adrian Brown, conductor
    Drew Steanson, piano

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    Tickets: £17, £15, £10 (concessions £3 off)

    Finland’s early history is characterised by Russian domination. Sibelius was an ardent nationalist, and his music became a rallying cry for the Finnish people in their fight for linguistic, cultural and political independence. One of his earliest pieces was the incidental music for a patriotic play performed by students in Karelia. In 1896 Sibelius took three of these pieces and mashed them together into the Karelia Orchestral Suite you will hear this evening. A few years later, Sibelius began sketching the First Symphony. Ironically, many have pointed out how Russian this symphony is - borrowing much from Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5. However, this symphony, like Finlandia composed that same year, is far from Russian - it is fiercely nationalistic and patriotic. Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 1 was Nordic inspired. He adapted the entire musical structure of the outer movements of the Grieg Piano Concerto to create it in 1891. This Concerto lived in the shadow of his later concerti, but in recent years, consensus has been building that this neglect is unjust. Although it does not have the great themes and orchestration of the later concerti, the First is a lively, ebullient work that brimming with youthful enthusiasm, and it has gradually taken its place in the concert pianist repertoire.

     


    At our next concert, we shall we raising money for the Royal Free Hospital Quiet Cancer Therapy Appeal. This is devoted to research into Neuroendocrine cancers.

    Although they are relatively uncommon, these cancers are particularly difficult to treat as in most cases, the sufferer has no symptoms until they have reached an advanced stage so the prognosis is poor. In comparison to many other cancers, little is known about them, and much basic research is still needed into their causes, the identification of those at risk, and the optimum treatment.

  • 6 October 2017

    Britten Prelude and Fugue, Op. 29
    Walton Violin Concerto 
    Vaughan Williams Symphony No. 5 in D major 
    Friday 6 October 2017, 7:30pm
    St James's Church, 197 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9LL

    Michael Seal, conductor
    Zoë Beyers, violin

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    Tickets: £17, £15, £10 (concessions £3 off)

    To reserve tickets
    Email: tickets@corinthianorchestra.org.uk
    Phone: 020 7381 0441

    In 1943 the tide had turned in favour of the Allies in World War II, but the war was still taking its toll on life in the UK. Pragmatically, Britten composed his Prelude and Fugue for the 18 remaining string players of the Boyd Neel String Orchestra. Walton missed the first performance of his Violin Concerto in the USA, he was needed at home in wartime London and could not be present. When he called for the parts from the US for its UK premiere, they were lost during their crossing of the battle-torn Atlantic. The concerto underwent some revision in 1943 and it is this version you will hear us performing. In London, the nightly air raids continued. Concerts started earlier in the 1943 Proms season so that audiences could get home before the air raids began. To troubled London audiences, the serene musical world of Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No. 5, which received its debut at the Proms that year, must have been an uplifting experience, a message of hope and rebirth.

  • 20 June 2017

    Rameau Dances from Les Boréades
    Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64 
    Beethoven Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36
    Tuesday 20 June 2017, 7:30pm
    St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 4JJ

    Michael Seal, conductor
    Zsolt-Tihamér Visontay, violin

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    Tickets: £22, £18, £14 (concessions £3 off)

    To reserve tickets
    Email: tickets@corinthianorchestra.org.uk

    Jean-Philippe Rameau is one of the orchestral world's neglected masters. Although he is acknowledged as one of the most important and influential composers of French baroque music, modern symphony orchestras today rarely play his music. So, we are really pleased to play for you this evening some instrumental selections from Les Boréades (The Descendants of Boreas) an opera in five acts by this composer.

    Mendelssohn’s violin concerto needs little introduction.  The concerto turned out to be Mendelssohn’s last orchestral work and a powerhouse finale to a career burdened by the promise of spectacular early accomplishment.

    We conclude this evening’s concert with Beethoven's Second Symphony.  Written mostly during his stay at Heiligenstadt in 1802, it was a time when his deafness was becoming more apparent and he began to realise that it might be incurable. Paradoxically, "this Symphony is smiling throughout" (as Hector Berlioz remarked) and will be a relatively light-hearted and humorous end to this evening’s concert.

  • 18 May 2017

    Shostakovich (arr. Barshai) Chamber Symphony in C minor, Op. 110a 
    Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 2, Op. 63 in G minor 
    Dvořák Symphony No. 6, Op. 60 in D major 
    Thursday 18 May 2017, 7:30pm
    St James's Church, 197 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9LL

    Michael Seal, conductor
    Zoë Beyers, violin

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    Tickets: £17, £15, £10 (concessions £3 off)

    To reserve tickets
    Email: tickets@corinthianorchestra.org.uk
    Phone: 020 7381 0441

    The Allied firebombing of Dresden killed more people than the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. While staying in Dresden in the summer of 1960, Shostakovich composed a quartet, his eighth, inscribed “In memory of victims of fascism and war.”  This evening we will perform Rudolf Barshai’s arrangement of this quartet for string orchestra. 

    Prokofiev composed his Violin Concerto No. 2 in 1935, while living in Paris just before returning to the Soviet Union.  He completed it at the same time as his well-known ballet score Romeo and Juliet, which this concerto mirrors in numerous passages.

    If the Sixth hasn't quite the stature of Dvorák's three final symphonies, it is nonetheless thoroughly characteristic of the composer.   It is the work that marks his full maturity as a symphonist, and it is by any standards one of the most ingratiating symphonies of its time.

  • 18 March 2017

    BeethovenCoriolan Overture, Op. 62
    Mozart Piano Concerto No. 25 in C major, K. 503
    Mendelssohn Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 56 "Scottish"
    Saturday 18 March 2017, 7:00pm
    St James's Church, 197 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9LL

    Eamonn Dougan, conductor
    Yoon-Seok Shin, piano

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    Tickets: £17, £15, £10 (concessions £3 off)

    To reserve tickets
    Email: tickets@corinthianorchestra.org.uk
    Phone: 020 7381 0441

    Is this overture about Shakespeare’s Roman statesman, Coriolanus, or is it a Beethoven self-portrait?  We leave it to you to decide. 

    1786 was a really important year for Mozart.  In addition to The Marriage of Figaro and the “Prague” Symphony, Mozart completed Piano Concerti nos. 23, 24 and 25.  Among his piano concertos, No. 25, in our view, ranks high up on the list for its sublime synthesis of symphonic style, solo display and operatic characterisation.  

    Early on, Goethe compared him to Mozart. He spoke with some authority given he watched the young Mozart playing the harpsichord in 1763.  This was not a boyhood composition though.  Mendelssohn composed the Scottish when he was in his early thirties, having visited Scotland a decade earlier.  Some hear Scottish bagpipe tunes; others see Scotland's desolate moors and misty highlands.  We think it’s a fabulous symphony and you will enjoy it, but it is probably as Scottish as Mozart's Prague Symphony is Bohemian.

  • 6 February 2017

    Rachmaninov Isle of the Dead, Op. 29
    Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 18
    Prokofiev Symphony No. 5 in Bb major, Op. 100
    Monday 6 February 2017, 7:30pm
    St John's, Smith Square, London SW1P 3HA

    Michael Seal, conductor
    Chris Hopkins, piano

     

    Tickets: £20, £15, £10

    To reserve tickets
    Email: boxoffice@sjss.org.uk
    Phone: 020 7222 1061

    Following some initial success, Rachmaninov, prone to anxiety and depression, composed nothing for three years. With the Second Piano Concerto, composed between 1900 and 1901, Rachmaninov overcame his writer’s block and discovered his voice - unforgettable tunes, amazing pianistic effects, effortless ideas and style.

    In May 1907, while in Paris to perform this piano concerto, Rachmaninov saw a reproduction of Böcklin’s painting The Isle of the Dead, depicting the arrival of a small boat at a desolate island seen across dark waters. It had a profound effect on the composer and the result, a few years later, was this wonderful symphonic poem.

    World War II was raging while Prokofiev worked on his Fifth Symphony, completing it in a month during the summer of 1944, sheltered in an artists’ retreat outside Moscow. He described it at the time as "a hymn to free and happy Man, to his mighty powers, his pure and noble spirit" and we agree with him when he later declared it to be one of his best compositions.