We are delighted to playing again! For our first concert since COVID-19 we are playing two wonderful works - one you will instantly recognise, and one which is likely to be new to you. We are returning to our normal venue - Letchworth Free Church.
The opening bars of Beethoven's 5th Symphonyare instantly recognisable, as one of the best known compositions in classical music, adapted now to all sorts of music genres! It was written between 1804 and 1808 in Vienna, when Beethoven in his mid-30's was experiencing increasing deafness. They were turbulent times, with Napolean's forces occupying Vienna for a time, and indeed the final movement quotes from a revolutionary song by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle. The premierie of the work did not go to plan, due to a lack of rehearsal. Players had just one session to get to know the music, and even for a great orchestra, things went wrong, to the point that Beethoven had to stop the music and start again. We have quite a number of rehearsals planned, so we hope not to suffer the same fate!
In contrast to such a well known piece, we are thrilled to be playing a real gem that rarely gets into concert schedules these days: Ethel Smyth's Serenade in D. Also known as a colourful suffragette who was imprisoned for the cause, Ethel became the foremost woman composer of her time.
Born in 1858, she had declared by the time she was 12 that she wanted to be a composer. Her father was not keen. When aged 19, she announced she wanted to study composition in Leipzig, things became difficult. In fact Ethel was determined to make things so difficult at home, that her family would have to relent. She went on to become friends with Clara Schumann, Grieg, Brahms and Tchaikovsky, and spent time travelling alone in Italy with minimal supplies. The Serenade in D is a significant piece of work - a major undertaking by any composer's standards. Donald Tovey described it as a 'masterpiece' which demonstrates a conspicuous debt to Beethoven. Her works were very popular a the time, but slipped from the concert repertoire by the time she died, aged 86 in 1944.
Tickets are £12 a person, and £6 for under 18's.
You can buy tickets on this website - book here.
22nd January 2022, 7.30pm
Letchworth Free Church
Norton Way South
Letchworth SG6 1US
For the safety of the audience and players alike, the string players will be masked for the concert, and we ask that audience members also remain masked.
We will aim to seat people in groups according to their booking. There will be spacing between booked groups.
Please bring your own refreshments if you wish but please use unbreakable cups/glasses. We are unable at this time to offer our normal wine and soft drinks.