Past concerts

  • 19 May 2018

    Berlioz Béatrice et Bénédict Overture
    Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3, Op. 25 in C major
    Brahms Symphony No. 4, Op. 98 in E minor 
    Saturday 19 May 2018, 7:00pm
    St James's Church, 197 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9LL

    Michael Seal, conductor
    Chris Hopkins, piano

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

    Tickets will be available to purchase at the door before the concert starts.

    Berlioz captures the essence of Shakespeare’s comedy, Much Ado About Nothing, in this delightful Overture, much of it in the playful introduction, where the silences are as witty as the dialogue between woodwind and strings.   It is a sparkling introduction to the tale of love gone wrong–and love gone right.

    The exuberant, brash Piano Concerto No. 3 drew thunderous applause from American audiences in 1921 but it received rather tepid reviews. Neither in Chicago nor in subsequent New York performances did the concerto arouse much enthusiasm.  Prokofiev said the American public "did not quite understand the work."  Nevertheless, it went on to become one of the half a dozen or so most popular piano concertos of the entire twentieth century.

    Similarly, the premiere in 1885 of Brahms’s Symphony No. 4 had a cool reception.  Audiences found the symphony’s strangeness difficult to deal with on first acquaintance.  Its strangeness lies in its combination of modern (for 1885) harmonies and suggestions of old music (in particular the passacaglia in the final movement).  Now the symphony is firmly a concert favourite.

  • 16 March 2018

    Mendelssohn Overture A Midsummer Night’s Dream
    Beethoven Symphony No. 1, Op. 21
    Mozart Overture Così fan tutte
    Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor
    Friday 16 March 2018, 7:30pm
    St James's Church, 197 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9LL

    Eamonn Dougan, conductor
    Nicola Benedetti, violin

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

    A limited number of tickets will be available to purchase at the door before the concert starts.

    Beethoven's Symphony No. 1, seen from all points of view, is a classical one, strongly anchored in the Viennese musical life of the time, especially Mozart’s last symphonies.  Knowing their Mozart and Haydn well, his contemporaries referred to this symphony as “masterpiece" repeatedly and praised the work's "originality”.

  • 23 January 2018

    Stravinsky Dances concertantes
    Haydn Cello Concerto No. 1 in C major
    Mozart Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K550
    Tuesday 23 January 2018, 7:30pm
    St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 4JJ

    Michael Seal, conductor
    Richard Birchall, cello

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

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    Email: tickets@corinthianorchestra.org.uk

    Danses Concertantes looks and sounds like a ballet score; officially, however, it is a concert piece. It hails from Stravinsky’s neoclassical period when he worked to establish an artistic link with the formal and contrapuntal structures of eighteenth-century music. Written in Hollywood in the winter of 1941-1942, the work received its premiere in Los Angeles in the February.

    Haydn's Cello Concerto No. 1 in C Major, composed around 1761-1765, was presumed lost for two hundred years until in 1961, a copy of the score was discovered at the Prague National Museum. The Concerto has since become a staple of the cello repertoire.

    We conclude this performance with Mozart’s Symphony No. 40, which needs no introduction. The summer of 1788, when this, along with his other last two symphonies, were composed, was not a good time for Mozart. He was beset with by financial troubles, declining popularity, illness of his wife, and the failure of his opera, Don Giovanni. Notwithstanding this, he completed all three symphonies in lightning speed over a ten-week period. For some time, it was believed that Mozart never heard a performance of No. 40, although today there is some evidence that there was at least one performance during his lifetime conducted by Salieri.

  • 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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    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.