Reading School Spring Concert 2013 available on DVD for £12.50 including postage and packaging
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Joint String Orchestra
Queen Anne’s School, Caversham
Big School 21st March 2013 – 7:30pm
Programme As Follows
Chaconne from 1st Military Suite 633 Squadron
Harry Davidson Associate Conductor
Holst Ron Goodwin
Holst’s First Military suite was written in 1909, but not premiered by the Royal Military School of Music until 1920.
The opening Chaconne features a simple 8-bar tune passed around the band in various guises, transpositions and inversions. It is testament to the composer’s craft how he can keep this simple structure so fresh, and probably largely thanks to his band experience on the trombone.
“633 Squadron” is one of the great WW2 films of the 1960s, and marks the transition from such films being respectful documentations to more straightforward adventure films. Goodwin took inspiration from the squadron’s name to provide the rhythm, which underpins the music, giving it its driving energy.
From set a5 in G Minor; 1 - Fantazya
Born in 1602, William Lawes was a renaissance composer who wrote for Charles I.
This first movement in G minor was written for a viol consort (consisting of 2 treble viols, 2 tenor viols and 1 bass viol) but will be performed this evening using 2 violins, 2 violas and a bassoon. Although renaissance polyphony is often sung, the interlocking rhythms of the period are made all the more lively this evening by being played on instruments.
Locus Iste The Legend of the Chapel Choir Crown of Roses
Bruckner must have cut a very strange figure next to his contemporaries in the last days of radical Romanticism. His colossal and deeply emotional symphonies are even harder to reconcile with the image of the composer as a country bumpkin that Mahler described as “Half Simpleton, Half God”.
“Locus Iste” is one of Bruckner’s most beloved choral works, and is very restrained in its language, yet dignified and direct in its communication of the text:
This is the Lord's house, which He hath made Profoundly sacred, it is beyond reproof.
“The Legend of the Crown of Roses” is a similarly charming choral piece to Locus Iste, although it is more devotional, rather than liturgical. Its words imagine an incident in which the young Jesus is taunted by other children in a way that prefigures the crucifixion. It is not too much of a stretch to suggest that Tchaikovsky intends this story at least semi-autobiographically.
Mississippi Rag Saxophone Ensemble W. H. Krell
Copyrighted in 1897, “Mississippi Rag” stands out as the first official ragtime composition, predating even the publication of Scott Joplin’s work. Bandleader and composer William Krell composed many rags over his career, and is regarded as one of the finest exponents of this popular new genre.
Trio Stephane Crayton Introduction et Final (Violin) Mihauld Tristan O’Leary (Clarinet) Richard
Milhaud is one of the more famous members of the loose collection of 20th Century French composers known as “Les Six”. His music is emphatically useful, celebrating good instrumental writing and both highbrow and popular styles. It should not be altogether surprising that Milhaud, having emigrated to the United States, was a teacher of many popular musicians such as Burt Bacharach and Dave Brubeck.
With a Little Help Bantershop Lennon & from My Friends Ehsaan Shivarani McCartney
It is testament to the Beatles’ greatness that a song that Lennon and McCart- ney wrote as a throwaway track for Ringo to sing could be the defining song for the career of Joe Cocker. The second song on Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, it remains one of the great pop songs.
Fuga uber eine The- ma von Dizee Rascal
String Quartet Richard Meehan
There is a fairly long established tradition of novelty fugues, as it allows the composer to simultaneously demonstrate a consummate technique and postmodern sense of humour. This tradition has, of course, been made all the more fashionable by the possibilities of the internet. Here the Director of Music pays tribute to this tradition, incorporating the styles of Bach, Vaughan Williams, and Schubert to name but three.
All Through the Night Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines Who Wants to Live Forever?
Anthony Tat Accompanist
Trad Ron Goodwin
All Through the Night, or “Ar Hyd y Nos” to give it its Welsh title is perhaps the best demonstration of the magic of male voice singing from this region of the country.
“Those Magnificent Men” is perhaps the best loved of the British 1960s en- semble cast caper movies, and Ron Goodwin’s ebullient theme song perfectly captures the spirit of post-empire irony.
“Who Wants to Live Forever?” is one of Queen’s best-loved songs, re- energising their career as part of the “Highlander” soundtrack. It was written by the band’s lead guitarist (and now celebrity astronomer) in the back of a taxi.
St Paul’s Suite
Jig Ostinato Intermezzo
The Combined String Orchestras of Queen Anne’s School and Reading School Richard Meehan- Conductor
Finale: The Dargason
St Pauls’ Suite is one of Holst’s best loved works. It was written for the students of St Paul’s School where the composer was Director of Music. It ably demonstrates that educational music need not compromise its integrity or patronize the students, but can celebrate their strengths to produce an exceptional work.
The opening Jig begins with a theme stated in unison by all but the double basses, and continues this relentless energy throughout the rest of the movement, giving each section plenty to get their teeth into.
In the second movement, a constant stream of quavers on only three pitches threads through the rest of the texture of the movement, by turns a sprightly 3/4 and energetic 2/4.
The intermezzo, features a slow, haunting theme interspersed with a rough peasant dance, with harmony that is so much more than the “cow staring over the gate” image used to characterize the early 20th century English Composers.
The Finale deftly balances ongoing variations on a simple folk-like theme against the serene statements of “Greensleeves”, thereby unifying all movements of the work as studies in meter.
Reading School Orchestra Type II and Harry Davidson
The Type II of the title refers to a type of supernova in which a dying star col- lapses under its own weight, before exploding suddenly in a brilliant ball of light.
This composition depicts the star, alone in the vast coldness of space, but still awe-inspiring in its powerful beauty. Gradually, the star becomes unstable and increasingly violent, before ultimately collapsing under its own weight. As the massive body then retracts into itself, a solo violin and clarinet play lyrical lines, as if the star is lamenting its own death.
Finally, from the small point of collapse, the star suddenly explodes in an in- candescent blaze of light, throwing the heavier elements of its guts into space, from which stardust we are all, ultimately, made.
The Music Department would like to thank the following staff whose help and support have made this event possible:
Frances Greaney, Caroline Hoyle, Pete Henderson, Alan Walder, the Headmaster.
Forthcoming Concerts at Reading School Summer Concert, Big School, Monday 15th July
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