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Autumn Concert 2010

Saturday 20 November 2010

St Marys Church, Banbury
Conductor - Paul Willett
Leader - Anna Fleming
Solo Violin - Irina Pakkanen

Music by Balakirev, Bruch and Brahms

Programme 1

Welcome to our concert!

The Banbury Symphony Orchestra is delighted to welcome you to our Autumn
2010 concert this evening, and we have a feast of good music for you!
But first Id like to mention our special anniversary programmes for next year. In
2011 the Banbury Symphony Orchestra will have been playing to local audiences
for all of 50 years. We have two more concertos for you.
In the Summer the famous guitarist Gilbert Biberian will be performing the ever
popular Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaqun Rodrigo. This will be part of our special
Childrens Summer Concert featuring pictures: Pictures at an Exhibition by
Mussorgsky, and we will be showing pictures by local children too!
In our Autumn Concert we will have the fabulous Elgar Cello Concerto along with
Holsts ever popular Planets Suite.
And in the spring of 2011 well have Griegs Norwegian Dances and his first Peer
Gynt Suite, with Vaughan-Williams Fourth Symphony. This Symphony was
described by William Walton as the greatest symphony since Beethoven!.
Its scherzo also has the dubious honour of being the inspiration to Jerry Goldsmith,
the composer of the score to Star Trek: The Motion Picture, for the Klingon Theme.
But lets get back to this evenings music. It seems that to be a famous composer
it helps if your surname begins with B, and so it is for our programme for this
evening :
Balakirev : Overture on 3 Russian Themes
Very accessible music, as the tunes seem to be ones we have always known.
Bruch : Violin Concerto No.1 (Irina Pakkanen: violin)
One of the most popular pieces of classical music ever written, and rightly so!
---------Brahms : Symphony No.4
Classical romantic music at its very best!
So we hope you enjoy yourselves, as we experience live classical music together!
Jonathan Rowe, Chairman.

Paul Willett Conductor

Paul Willett studied violin, singing and piano as
a student but his main instrument was the
French horn. When Paul was 16, he gained his
Performance Diploma from The Royal College
of Music playing French horn. Paul then went
on to read music on scholarship at The Queens
College, Oxford, and studied for his teaching
certificate in Music and Physical Education at
Reading University.
For several years Paul combined teaching and freelance playing. He has given solo
recitals and performed concertos throughout the country. He was a member of The
Five Winds, a group that performed both at home and abroad, and also on BBC
radio. Paul also worked as a brass teacher for Oxfordshire Music Service and was
director of a Saturday Music School of 200 students.
Paul now combines class teaching with conducting various ensembles, both adult
and youth. He is also in demand as an adjudicator for both adult and student
competitions. Paul is currently Acting Deputy Head Teacher at Didcot Girls School.
Anna Fleming - Leader
Anna was born in South Africa where she started
playing the violin at the age of ten. While studying
music at secondary school, Anna became a member of
the South African National Youth Orchestra. After
successfully completing her music degree, majoring in
orchestral studies, Anna joined the Cape Philharmonic
Orchestra in 1992.
Anna moved to England in late 1996. Keen to continue
her orchestral playing, Anna joined the Banbury Symphony Orchestra in 1997 and
became the leader of the orchestra in 2000, a post that she has held ever since. As a
committed Christian, Anna plays an active role in church music. Focusing primarily
on private violin tuition, Anna particularly enjoys helping adults to learn to play and
she can be contacted on 01295 780017.

Balakirev Overture on 3 Russian Themes

Perhaps because Balakirev's initial musical experience was as a pianist, composers
for his own instrument influenced the repertory and style of his compositions. He
wrote in all the genres cultivated by Frdric Chopin except the Ballade, cultivating a
comparable charm. The other keyboard composer who influenced Balakirev was
Franz Liszt.
Between his two Overtures on Russian Themes, Balakirev became involved with folk
song collecting and arranging. This work alerted him to the frequency of the Dorian
mode. These characteristics were reflected in Balakirev's handling of Russian folk
song. With his First Overture on Russian Themes, Balakirev focused on writing
symphonic works with Russian character. He chose his themes from folk song
collections available at the time he composed the piece, taking Glinka's
Kamarinskaya as a model in taking a slow song for the introduction, then for the fast
section choosing two songs compatible in structure with the ostinato pattern of the
Kamarinskaya dance song.
This Second Overture on Russian Themes shows an increased sophistication as
Balakirev utilizes Beethoven's technique of deriving short motifs from longer
themes. As such it can stand on its own as an example of abstract motivic-thematic
composition, yet since it uses folk songs in doing so, it can also be looked upon as
making a statement about nationality. In this overture he shows how folk songs
could be given symphonic dimensions. The structure of this overture departs from
the classic tonal relationships of tonic and dominant, coming close to the tonal
experiments of Liszt and Robert Schumann.
Like his contemporaries, Balakirev believed in the importance of program music
music written to fulfill a program inspired by a portrait, poem, story or other nonmusical source. Unlike his compatriots, the musical form always came first for
Balakirev, not the extramusical source, and his technique continued to reflect the
Germanic symphonic approach. Nevertheless, Balakirev's overtures played a crucial
role in the emergence of Russian symphonic music in that they introduced the
musical style now considered "Russian." His style was adapted by his compatriots
and others to the point of becoming a national characteristic. The opening of
Tchaikovsky's Little Russian Symphony (for example) shows Balakirev's influence.

Programme derived from Wikipedia

Bruch violin Bruch concerto No. 1 in G minor (Irina Pakkanen: violin)

Allegro moderato
Allegro energico
Born in Cologne, where he later established himself as a music teacher, Bruch
started composing at the age of 11. Although it is by his compositions for violin that
he is mainly known today, the bulk of his output was choral, both sacred and
secular, and much of it for the stage. From 1861 he held posts in various towns in
Germany and, for three years, one in England as conductor of the Liverpool
Philharmonic Society. It was not until 1891 that recognition was given to his
importance as a composer, when he was appointed Professor at the Berlin
Academy, where he took master classes in composition.
The G minor Concerto was written in 1868. The first movement takes the form of a
dialogue between soloist and orchestra. A short woodwind passage introduces the
soloist, whose opening recitative leads into the main body of the movement. In turn,
the whole serves as a kind of extended introduction to the Adagio, which follows
without a break. This movement is the core of the whole concerto and shows the
lyrical-dramatic qualities of Bruch's style of composition at their best. The work is
brought to a rousing conclusion by a finale full of dance rhythms and brilliant
bravura passages.
Bruch began to write this concerto at the age of 19, but nine years elapsed before it
was completed and performed. At one point Bruch played it over on the piano to
Brahms. When he had finished, Brahms famous for his bearish putdowns picked
up a page of the score and said, "Where do you buy your music-paper? First rate!" In
its original form the concerto was premired by Otto von Knigelow in April 1866.
Bruch then sent it to the great violinist Joachim. Unlike Brahms, Joachim at once
recognised the quality of the piece and became its foremost interpreter. In later
years he would offer the opinion that of the century's four great violin concertos,
(Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Bruch, Brahms), the Bruch was the most melodious and
After the briefest of introductions from the woodwind (a figure which will recur as a
motto) the violin makes a suitably arresting entry. As the movement proceeds, the
solo in a ruminating, almost improvisatory fashion, explores the virtuoso capabilities
of the instrument. At the close, after a brief cadenza, the orchestra bursts in, in the
unexpected key of E flat, the key of the slow movement which follows without a
break. This is the heart of the concerto, a long-breathed, peaceful yet intense
melody which Bruch certainly never surpassed.

The soloist's later passagework is set against the most subtle and imaginative
orchestration. The energetic finale in the gypsy manner must have appealed to
Joachim's Hungarian soul. If the main theme in double-stopped thirds seems similar
to the Rondo theme of the Brahms concerto, it is worth recalling that Bruch's
concerto preceded that work by a dozen years.
The revised final version was first played by Joachim on 7 January 1868.
Irina Pakkanen was born in Moldova in 1981. After studying in Moscow from 1991,
Irina won the Young Talents of Russia competition for violin and piano duo. In 1999,
she was then awarded a scholarship from the Guildhall Trust and LYRA Foundation
(Zurich) to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with David Takeno and
Pauline Scott. At the Guildhall School she won the Birdie Warshaw Prize for
unaccompanied violin, the Sheriffs Prize for Violin and a Wolfson Foundation
Instrument Award.

Irina has given recitals and taken part in many international festivals in Moscow,
London and other European cities and has toured extensively in Russia and most
countries in Western Europe and South America. Recent engagements include
appearances as a soloist and chamber musician at the Royal Opera House, St Johns
Smith Square and the Wigmore Hall. During 20082010 Irina held the prestigious
Leverhulme Chamber Music Fellowship at the Guildhall School. She is also a founder
leader and soloist of the Handel Collection Orchestra based in St Stephens Walbrook
Church in the City of London.


Brahms Symphony No.4

Allegro non
Andante moderato
Allegro giocoso
Allegro energico e passionato
Brahms's habit of composing works in contrasting pairs has often been remarked
upon. In his orchestral compositions this is best seen in the two pairs formed by his
four symphonies. Thus the tragic First Symphony was followed within a year by the
happy and pastoral Second, and within two years of each other came the brightly
optimistic Third and the autumnal farewell of the Fourth. With each symphony we
seem to be entering into a different region of Brahms's inner world; each appears to
be treating a new and intensely personal 'theme'. But because of his notorious
reticence, we are left with no clue as to the meaning of this theme.
The Fourth Symphony was completed in the summer of 1885, at Mrzzuschlag in
Styria. Brahms presented a two-piano arrangement of it in a private performance to
a group of close friends but the reception was cool. Brahms, ever his own greatest
critic, was full of misgivings about allowing it to be performed by an orchestra. In the
event he agreed to let the Meiningen Orchestra rehearse it under the conductor
Han von Blow. The rehearsal went well, and the first performance took place under
the direction of von Blow at Meiningen on 25 October 1885. Von Blow then took
it on an important tour with the orchestra that took in Holland. However, it was only
in later years that the work began to be recognised for what it is: the crowning
achievement of Brahms's career as a symphonist and the most serious and profound
of his large-scale orchestral compositions.
The opening Allegro, whose first subject, beginning from a two-note phrase, is spun
out to no fewer than nineteen bars, is perhaps the most lyrical of Brahms's
symphonic first-movements, although it also contains episodes of an intense
dramatic conflict. There is no preamble in this movement and the first subject is
heard right away, given out serenely by the violins, with woodwind responses. A
horn passage bridges the transition to the second subject, a strong theme played by
the woodwind, the first part with horns, the second part with cellos. A soaring
interlude for strings comes just before the start of the development, which
elaborates upon the first subjects and a little upon the first part of the second. After
the recapitulation there follows a coda based upon the two-note germ that has
given rise to the first subject.

In the Andante, melodic beauty is wedded to magical touches in harmony and

orchestration. Already the very opening provides a superb example of this - a gently
swaying passage for horns and woodwind in C major which with the entry of the
strings pizzicato shades into E major. A string outburst breaks the elegiac mood
temporarily but it is reestablished by one of Brahms's most beautiful melodies,
assigned to the 'cellos. Both these ideas are developed, and the first provides
material for the coda. The ensuing Allegro is the only movement to be found in the
Brahms symphonies to possess a genuine scherzo character. The giocoso of the title
is fully borne out by the music and a small but not insignificant feature is Brahms's
addition to the orchestra of a piccolo and triangle. The full orchestra gives out the
first spirited subject, while the second, also lighthearted, is heard in the violins.
The finale is cast in the form of a passacaglia or variations on a ground bass. Brahms
took the passacaglia theme from Bach's Church Cantata No. 150, Nach dir. Herr,
verlangt mich. No composer before had thought of conducting a symphony in this
way a fact which at first puzzled and even disconcerted its early audiences. Brahms
displays a magisterial skill in avoiding the pitfalls inherent in this form: namely, a
sectional structure and a lack of cohesion between the individual variations. He
makes the music flow with scarcely any interruption, variation follows upon
variation with compelling musical logic, and the cumulative effect is one of
overwhelming grandeur. Incidentally, this is the only movement of the symphony to
use trombones.

Programme Notes for pieces by Bruch & Brahms were supplied through the Programme Note Bank of Making Music,
the National Federation of Music Societies.

Banbury Symphony Orchestra

Management Committee:
Jonathan Rowe (Chair), Kathryn Hayman (Secretary), Jenny Maynard (Treasurer)
Emma Callery, Anna Fleming, Lyn Gosney, Rachel McCubbin, Andrew Waite
Conductor - Paul Willett
Violin I
Anna Fleming (Leader)
Graham Buckner
Vanessa Devesa
Trish Evans
Norman Filleul
Kathryn Hayman
Geoff Kent
Jenny Maynard
Marianne Robinson
Penny Tolmie
Violin II
Ian Smith
Emma Callery
Joe Cummings
Sarah Harper
Rachel Sansome
Rachel Saunders
Andrew Waite
Gill Walker
Conrad Woolley
Bryony Yelloly
Gill Barbour
David Bolton-King
Jonathan Rowe
Simon Stace

Miranda Ricardo
Peter Button
Jennifer Hubble
Ruth Mankelow
Paul Morley
Janet Parsons
John Pimm
Sarah Turnock
Double Bass
Robert Gilchrist
Jo Hammond
Rachel McCubbin
Sue Wain
Sue Wain
Lyn Gosney
Diana Lewis
Helen Payne
Alice Palmer

Ian McCubbin
Rachel James
Contra bassoon
Ian White
Simon Mead
David Settle
Richard Hartree
Helen Barnby-Porritt
Tony Chittock
Ron Barnett
Terry Mayo
Paul Macey
Gary Clifton
Malcolm Saunders
Justin Rhodes
Dave Hadland

Please visit our website for more information

Patrons of Banbury Symphony Orchestra

S. E. Corsi, Esq.

Mrs H. M. W.

Lady Saye and Sele

We are very grateful to our patrons for their financial support.

If you would like to make a donation, please send a cheque made payable to
Banbury Symphony Orchestra to the treasurer Jenny Maynard, The White House,
Hill, Leamington Hastings, Rugby, CV23 8DX or email her on
Please also fill in a Gift Aid declaration that can be obtained from Jenny, which
enables the orchestra to claim an additional 25p for every 1 donated by taxpayers.

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Banbury Symphony Orchestra has welcomed Spratt Endicott as sponsors since the
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If you would like to become a friend or would like to know more, please visit our
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Are you interested in joining the orchestra?
If you play an instrument to a standard of Grade 7 or above and would like to play
with the orchestra, find out more by contacting Anna Fleming on 01295 780017. All
rehearsals take place at Banbury School during term time on Tuesday evenings,

Dates for your diary

St Marys Church, Banbury. St Marys on Saturday 11 December 2010, 4.30pm 6pm.
A Family Christmas Festival of Music in association with The Rotary Club of
Banbury. A Programme of Seasonal Music and Christmas Carols.
St Marys Church, Banbury. Saturday 26 March 2011 at 7.30pm
for our Spring concert including music by Dvorak, Grieg and Vaughan Williams.