Harold in Italy
Clair de Lune
L'Arleisenne Suite No. 1
Lord Byron’s writings had a huge effect upon European artists and composers. Berlioz, who died 150 years ago in March 1869, responded to Byron’s “Childe Harold” with one of his orchestral masterpieces – Harold in Italy with its virtuosic solo viola part. Sarah-Jane Bradley has performed and recorded a large number of Viola Concertos for both the BBC and the Dutton-Epoch label: amongst the latter is a recording of the Arthur Benjamin Viola Concerto with the RSNO conducted by John Gibbons. She has also recorded William Alwyn’s Pastoral Fantasia on the Naxos Label – a beautiful pastoral work that can rank alongside The Lark Ascending and “On hearing the first Cuckoo in Spring” for its delicate evocation of the English countryside. Southern France is the setting for Alphonse Daudet’s play L’Arlésienne which opened in 1872 with incidental music by Bizet, a composer most known for the opera Carmen. The hugely popular suites totally eclipsed the original play and movements are regularly played in classical radio stations. The concert opens with the spectacular Joyeuse Marche by Chabrier and includes the delicate favourite Clair de Lune by Debussy.
""Exceptional … Bradley is an adventurous artist … every whisper of the bow was loaded with insight and intelligence… Is there a better British Violist than Sarah-Jane Bradley?" "
Sir Charles Hubert Parry
Sir Edward Elgar
Sir Edward Elgar
Elegy for strings
Sir Charles Villiers Stanford
Symphony No. 6 in E flat major 'In honour of G.F. Watts'
A Walkt to the Paradise Garden
Piano Concerto in A minor
A concert full of optimism tinged with nostalgia and memories. Stanford’s Sixth Symphony is unquestionably one of his finest works – a profound work full of beautiful melodies and sumptuous orchestration that was composed in tribute to the great Victorian artist and sculptor G.F. Watts. The first movement is inspired by his famous statue in Hyde Park “Physical Energy” whilst his paintings “Love & Life” and “Love & Death” are core inspirations for the whole symphony. The work, premiered by the LSO in 1907 to great acclaim, was never printed and the manuscript lay neglected for almost a century until the work was recorded by the Ulster Orchestra under the baton of Vernon Handley.
When Edvard Grieg came to give his first concerts in London, he had the world at his feet. As the first composer to transmute the sights and sounds of his own spectacular country into music, he was held to be both prophet and pioneer, and English writers described him as the most popular of all living composers, commenting, when he returned to London the following year, on the ‘Grieg fever’ that raged in the capital.
Between 1862 and 1906 Grieg spent some six months of his life in this country, for most of the time engaged in giving concerts of his own music as conductor, solo pianist and accompanist. Celebrated by his fellow musicians – among them Delius, Parry, Henry Wood and Grainger – Grieg was befriended by royalty, heaped with honours that included doctoral degrees from Cambridge and Oxford, pleaded in high quarters the cause of Norwegian independence, and found new friends who effected a profound change in his religious outlook. His Piano Concerto is one of his most popular works and features the hugely popular first winner of the Sussex International Piano Competition, Arta Arnicane.
"“Her totally secure, innate authority is matched by her deeply considered and often profound approach during her performances, far removed from much of the more shallow and superficial playing that abounds nowadays. She totally lacks any form of affectation and has an innate but rarely found sense of structure. Needless to say, these qualities are matched by a formidable technique.”"
Piano Concerto No. 5 'The Egyptian'
Set your horizons to the East with our exploration of the exotic. Rimsky’Korsakov’s deservedly popular Scheherazade is a fantasy of oriental narratives based upon the adventures of Sinbad the Sailor as recounted by Scheherazade in “One Thousand and One Nights”. With its dazzling orchestration, seductive melodies and lush harmonies, it brilliantly transports us into distant lands and oceans. Saint-Saens was another child-prodigy whose legendary skills at the piano can be brilliantly seen in his five piano concertos. The Fifth was inspired by a cruise on the River Nile and includes Nubian folk songs and the throbbing sounds of the steamer’s engines. It is believed Saint-Saens wrote some of the themes onto his napkin while onboard. The concert opens with Dvorak’s exuberant concert overture Carnival – one of his greatest creations and a brilliant orchestral showcase.
Yi-Yang Chen won the 4th Sussex International Piano Competition with a superb performance of Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto winning also the Audience and Orchestra prizes.
""Yi-Yang showed an impressive breadth of emotional investment and natural affinity for the music he played. "
Dr Robin Page - 2011 Pacific International Piano Competition