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Exeter Symphony Orchestra play Britten, Elgar and Vaughan Williams

Saturday November 24, 2018 at 19:30
Southernhay United Reformed Church, Exeter
£15 (unreserved; in advance/at the door); £1 under 18s
Phone for tickets: 01392 665700
Phone lines open: Monday to Saturday 0930-1630; Bank Holidays 1000-1600
Other Sources: £12 from Exeter Symphony Orchestra members in advance
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Tickets "at the door" - until sold out
  1. Symphonic Suite, from Gloriana Op 53 - Benjamin Britten
  2. Concerto for tuba and orchestra in F minor - Ralph Vaughan Williams
  3. Symphony No 2 in E flat Op 63 - Sir Edward Elgar

Exeter Symphony Orchestra is proud to present its winter concert of English music featuring soloist Ross Knight in the Vaughan Williams Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra, along with dances from Benjamin Britten’s Gloriana and Sir Edward Elgar’s Symphony No 2 in E flat. Showcasing three giant figures of the national repertoire, the evening opens with music from Britten’s little-performed opera depicting the close relationship between Queen Elizabeth I and the Earl of Essex. Composed for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II it was not a critical success when premièred in 1953, but the lively dances from the later, more popular Gloriana suite fully evoke the intrigue of the Tudor court.

Ralph Vaughan Williams went to great lengths to study the capabilities of the instrument before writing his Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra and it has since become central to the repertoire of the brass bass. To perform it, Exeter Symphony Orchestra is thrilled to welcome the virtuoso Ross Knight who has generously squeezed Exeter into his busy UK and European schedule. Already familiar to audiences in Geneva (where he plays solo tuba with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande), Berlin and his native Scotland (wherein his talent first emerged in the Carnoustie and District Youth Band), Ross will ably contrast the first movement’s elephantine humour with the lyrical beauty of the Romanza (second movement) and more. The concerto was at first dismissed as the eccentric whim of an ageing composer, but its sheer virtuosic quality alone – which inspired film composer John Williams to give this “agile instrument, like a huge cornet” the famous Jaws theme – ensures its concert hall popularity.

Elgar dedicated his second and last completed symphony to the memory of His late Majesty King Edward VII and added his sources of inspiration – St Mark’s Basilica in Venice and Tintagel Castle – to the bottom of the score. This expansive piece is loaded with wonderful tunes, often featuring Elgar’s characteristic nobilmente marking and complex scoring, yet also embracing a modernistic, whole-tone scale; the work ends peacefully, but quietly glowing. The composer’s great love for Brahms, Wagner and Mahler is occasionally apparent, but this masterwork enjoys a unique and well-deserved place in the repertory of great symphonies.

Southernhay United Reformed Church
Dix's Field
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