Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra

Martin Roscoe is quite simply one of the most admired and respected pianists of his generation.  Equally at home in concerto, recital and chamber performances he describes himself as a musical all-rounder, or more specifically as “a musician who plays the piano, rather than a pianist”. It is an interesting, typically self-effacing definition suggesting that his performances aim to serve the music and the composer’s intentions rather than imposing his own personality on either. On Sunday, as the guest of the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra, he will turn his flawless technique and musicianship to Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A Minor, a work held together by a pervading sense of joy that surges through the work from beginning to end, belying the alarming deterioration in the composer’s physical and mental health during the period of its composition. It was a work that was to influence both Grieg and Rachmaninov in the creation of their concerti for piano and orchestra.

Conductor Laureate Barry Wordsworth makes a welcome appearance on Sunday to bring the Philharmonic’s current season to a close with a performance of Alexander Scriabin’s Second Symphony. The heart of this glorious work is a sumptuously-coloured slow movement, while the finale achieves the universal appeal the composer aimed for with a triumphant march. The concert begins with Kodály’s Dances of Galánta, an orchestral evocation of the small Hungarian market town’s long established gypsy band, full of exciting rhythm and brilliantly colourful orchestration.

There is much to look forward to then in this, the final concert of the Brighton Philharmonic’s 92nd season. The Orchestra has maintained its high performance standards throughout with a wonderfully diverse programme of music. I look forward with eager anticipation to its 93rd season.

Peter Back

Bach to the Future

Saturday, 3rd June 7.30pm- Bach to the Future

Sackville Road Methodist Church, Sackville Road, Bexhill on Sea TN39 3JA

An eclectic mix of popular music from traditional classics to the present day. Performers Andrew McGregor (organ) Cindy Gilham (soprano) Lynne Conway (piano) Andy Conway (violin) James Conway (cello) and Stephen Conway (double bass) take the audience on a journey through space and time and provide them with an evening to remember at this beautiful church.

All are welcome and entry is free, with a retiring collection for the charity ‘Starfish Malawi’. For more details phone 07944 077615.

SUSSEX ALIVE

Saturday 4 March 2017 7.45 p.m.

St Michael’s Church, Lewes High Street
Directed by Andrew Sherwood

 

Bach Goes to Sussex

Bach – Brandenburg Concerto No.3

Peter Copley – Tango

Robin Milford – Concertino for piano and strings in E Major, Op.106
Fishing by Moonlight for piano  and strings

Soloist  Margaret Fingerhut

Bartók – Divertimento for String Orchestra

7.10 p.m. Pre-concert talk  

Peter Copley discusses tonight’s music

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. Nicolas Pevensey secures Heritage Lottery Funding

St Nicolas Church, which celebrated its 800th anniversary in 2016, has been awarded £74,900 by the Heritage Lottery Fund. This grant, together with church generated funds, will pay for a programme of improvements that will ensure repairs to the roof and rusted windows, and a new electrical wiring and lighting system.  These will be the latest elements of a restoration programme begun in 2006, which protected the church building from the prevailing south-westerly Channel winds and storms. The next and final stage aims to repair internal rendering and finishing, which has been extensively damaged as a result of incoming damp.

As well as keeping the congregation warm and dry, the improvements will mean the church’s many visitors and the audiences to St Nicolas’ burgeoning concert programme will also be able to enjoy the church in much greater comfort.

The grant will also pay for the installation of a landmark display that describes the role of the church over eight centuries from the time when Pevensey was an important medieval seaport. An overall narrative for the church is condensed into a series of six main storylines, embraced by one overarching theme: “For eight centuries the Church of St Nicolas, patron saint of seafarers, has kept watch over Pevensey, reflecting the town’s fortunes and inspiring its community.” This will be unveiled on completion of the project in 2017.

Welcoming the announcement, Deputy Churchwarden and outgoing leader of the P16 fund raising group, George Stephens said: “The church has been on the Heritage at Risk Register for some time, and could well have had to close permanently if this application had not been successful. Having celebrated the church’s 800th anniversary throughout 2016, this grant means the church will remain for use by the community and churchgoers for many years to come.”

A NEW ORCHESTRA FOR THE SOUTH EAST

Led by South Coast native William Kunhardt, the Arensky Chamber Orchestra (ACO), Britain’s orchestra of revolutionaries, make their South Coast debut in March 2017.

Sea Fever 1

Their first project, Sea Fever, is a classical experience inspired by the ocean. Sea Fever will tour the Cultural Coastal Trail Galleries, with performances at Eastbourne’s Towner Gallery on March 4th, Bexhill’s De La Warr Pavilion on March 8th, and Hastings’ Jerwood Gallery on March 10th. See seafevertour.com for more. It will be followed by Aulanko, an exploration of Sibelius’s 5th Symphony, at Eastbourne’s new Birley Centre in June. Classical Music. But not as you know it.

The ACO specialises in gripping performance and mind-opening presentation. Its mantra is to make classical music more social, meaningful and dramatic, without losing any of its depth or sincerity. They work with mixologists to invent cocktails inspired by the music, served during concerts. They host pre-concert ‘warm up acts’ and post-concert ‘chamber jams’. They also give ‘live programme notes’ where the orchestra tells the story of the music from the stage. They shun concert halls, preferring clubs, galleries, and urban spaces. The orchestra’s main performances are of Masterpieces in Miniature – large orchestral works reduced for chamber ensembles of 16-20. ‘They allow us to take music out of large, impersonal concert halls and into more intimate, modern settings’ says ACO Director of Collaboration Eddy Hackett. ‘They also reveal fascinating details in the music that get missed in the full versions’. In Sea Fever, the orchestra will perform world premieres of Britten’s Sea Interludes and Debussy’s La Mer ‘in miniature’.

The ACO has recorded for Classic FM, worked with leading soloists like Benjamin Grosvenor and Jennifer Pike, and collaborated with artists ranging from video DJs to dancers. The group’s players are the most indemand young artists in the country. They come from major orchestras, like the Royal Philharmonic and London Symphony, and leading chamber music groups. In 2016, the orchestra enjoyed its second 100% sell-out season in a row, won praise from the critics of the Telegraph, Guardian and Independent, and saw the average age of its listeners fall 10 years below leading statistics. For more, visit www.theaco.co.uk. Building a permanent home in the South East Sea Fever is funded by the Arts Council and aims to build the foundations for a permanent, year-round ACO series in the region. This series will give local artists in many genres opportunities to collaborate with the orchestra, creating a new culture of innovation and cross-arts collaboration throughout the region. In time, it will redefine iconic local landmarks as surprising live music venues.

The orchestra will also bring its education programme to the area. As part of Aulanko, the ACO will run a two-day composition workshop for 150 children – from Grade 8 students to untrained first-timers. They will come from schools in Eastbourne Schools Partnership and the Jerwood Gallery’s Learning Programme. Artistic Director, William Kunhardt – a homegrown talent. The tour is the brainchild of Artistic Director William Kunhardt. Kunhardt grew up and went to school in Eastbourne, winning a music scholarship to Eastbourne College. At 18, he left for London to study violin at the Royal College of Music, quickly transitioning into conducting. In 2014, Kunhardt won the James Conlon Prize at Aspen Festival, Colorado, launching his career internationally. Since then, he has gone on to work with orchestras in Asia, America, and Europe and with soloists like Benjamin Grosvenor and Sarah Chang. However, his passion remains the Arensky Chamber Orchestra, the group he founded as a student in 2009.

Marcio da Silva

A new, fully professional, orchestra? In Hastings? The idea might seem insane in this time of austerity but that would be to ignore the enthusiasm and expertise which Marcio da Silva has brought to Hastings over the last few years. Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra will be the first professional orchestra resident in Hastings for over half a century and his belief in the viability of the project was very evident when we met up just before Christmas.

marcio da silva

‘It’s the next step for the choir’, he said. ‘Over the last few years, since I was invited to become Music Director for Hastings Philharmonic Choir, we have been working hard to improve the quality of the choir and the professionalism of the music-making. Now I feel we are right to expand upon this. I felt drawn to Hastings as it has so many people involved in the arts, and particularly in music – there are so many choirs! – and yet there is no regular music programme here – nothing is co-ordinated. So that is what we are planning to do. Our first full season will have ten concerts ranging from chamber music to full orchestral and choral evenings.  I’m pleased that we have been offered a residency at St Mary in the Castle which will give us a permanent base and we can look to ensuring the right conditions are regularly available so that we don’t have to move staging every-time we hold an event.’

Hastings Philharmonic was launched last November with a concert in the White Rock Theatre. The venue – as the White Rock Pavilion – had been the home of Hastings Municipal Orchestra before the second World War, and so it seemed fitting to launch the new venture where the original had been so successful. Marcio da Silva is certainly not averse to taking risks and the opening concert for the first full season included a new work by Philip O’Meara and Beethoven’s Choral Symphony. The evening easily demonstrated the quality of the musicians he has gathered to form the basis of the ensemble. Many come from outside of Hastings but Marcio is keen to involve professional players who live closer to the town. In particular the number of strings will need to increase as large romantic works are contemplated.

‘I don’t want to chase musicians. I’d be happy to have players who live close to us but I want to ensure they are of the same professional standard as the rest of the players. We need to ensure we are providing high quality playing all the time. We need to ensure people know that they will get the best when they attend any of our published events. Happily those involved so far have a real sense of the adventure we are undertaking and are really committed. As part of our publicity we did a flash-mob performance of part of the Beethoven, and are looking for similar ways to promote ourselves in Hastings. Some events will be streamed to attract a wider audience, and there will be a new inter-active web-site to keep supporters in regular touch with him and plans as they evolve.

Alongside the choir and orchestra, Marcio runs Opera Academies which have been the basis of many of his staged performances. Here he works with young professional singers and brings them to a wider international audience.

 

Born in Brazil, Marcio da Silva studied singing and graduated from the Conservatoire de Toulouse, and received his Bachelor of Music Degree in orchestral conducting from the Musikhochschule Freiburg, followed by a master’s degree in conducting from the Royal College of Music. He has conducted the Pforzheimkammerorchester in Germany, Orchestra Sinfonica della Magna Grecia in Italy, Horizon Ensemble Bydgoszcz in Poland, Württembergische Philharmonie, Südwestdeutschephilharmonie Konstanz, and Stuttgartkammerorchester in Germany, Nord Tchechische Philarmonie in the Czech Republic,Orquestra Sinfonica de Minas Gerais in Brazil, Eski?ehir Metropolitan Orchestra and Çukurova Symphony Orchestra in Turkey, Kosovo Philharmonic Orchestra and London Symphony Orchestra during a Masterclass with Sir Colin Davis. He was one of the three finalists at the Princess Astrid Conducting Competition in Norway with the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra. He is also the Music Director of the Grange Choral Society, and Ensemble OrQuesta. As Music Director of Woodhouse Opera since 2012 Marcio has conducted and directed over 20 productions of operas ranging from less often performed works like Lully’s Armide to very popular works like Carmen, Magic Flute and La Boheme. His oratorio repertoire is large having conducted most of the main stream romantic and baroque oratorios. He is also a composer, with works including choral a capella pieces, art songs and a Te Deum for soloists, chorus and orchestra. He also sings extensively in chamber music and opera.

 

As his training and professional work indicates, he is a truly international musician who could easily work full-time anywhere in the world, but has chosen to focus on the South-East of England, intending to make Hastings a hub for a new and exciting approach to musical life.

‘Our first season, which started last November,  is very wide ranging. We opened with the Beethoven, but also with the new choral piece by Philip as I wanted to ensure we are supporting new music and new music-making.

As a total change, and following the traditional Christmas Concert, we have a Bossa Nova evening at The Tabernacle on 13 January. Then two weeks later we have an evening of Bach, Handel and Monteverdi at St Clements. So much variety within such a short time! In March we have a chamber recital, followed in April by Mozart’s Requiem in St Mary in the Castle. The really big challenge of the season comes in May when will perform Brahms’ Second Symphony, followed by a fully staged Don Giovanni at the start of June. But that’s not the end – there is a French chamber music recital and the Durufle Requiem in July before we break for the summer. Just a short break before the 2017-18 season begins – and we’ve big plans for that already, building on this first season.’

We finished our coffee and I left Marcio before he headed off for another rehearsal. If professionalism and enthusiasm are any indicators, Hastings is in for a renaissance and the ghosts of the Municipal Orchestra will be smiling.

 

 

 

 

 

John Robinson – poet

John Robinson is a local born poet living in Hastings, East Sussex; his work appears widely in the small press and online literary journals; ‘Cowboy Hats & Railways’ is his latest collection to be published by ‘Scars Publications’; it is available as a free PDF download from ‘Scars publications’ or as a perfect bound edition of the book is available via Amazon at £8.88.

j-robinson-pic

His previous publication ‘When You Hear The Bell, There’s Nowhere To Hide‘ (Holy&intoxicated Publications 2016) carries an introduction by Brooklyn based underground legend poet and novelist John Grochalski;  the poem ‘On My Father’s Side’ was first published as a Broadside by the iconic 48th Street Press NYC; the illustration above is the work of Hastings based artist Jonathan Adie;

ON MY FATHER’S SIDE
I never met
my grandfather
and really didn’t
get to know my
own father
and my daughter
may feel as I;
she never met
her grandfather
and owing to my
own fears and
inadequacies
may feel that I
have distanced
myself ;
not by absence
but through my
quietness and of
not constantly
repeating
‘I love you’
if something is
said once and it is
said in truth then
it is said forever
but here it is
in writing for you,
my daughter,
Bonita Rose,
I Love You.

 

COWBOY HATS AND RAILWAYS
Another time, drunk on wine
and beer and high on hash
and both of us wearing
these ridiculous oversized
Stetsons; he dared me to
climb onto the railway
bridge and swing above the
railway tracks and it didn’t
seem to be a bad suggestion
so I did just that and as I
dangled from the iron bridge
above the tracks, I thought
of a time when I was 8 or 9
when he had passed out
drunk and I didn’t know
where we were and I
couldn’t wake him up and I
shouted and kicked and
punched him with tears in
my eyes and he wouldn’t
wake up and I walked
away leaving him laying
in an alcoholic black-out
and somehow, I can’t
remember how, I made it
home and my mother hugged
me like she had never done
before or since
and my father returned
a couple days later;
and I hung from the bridge
above the railway tracks
and he joined me and we
sang a few songs and our
arms tired and we decided
to climb back onto the
bridge
and then we threw our
Stetsons onto the
tracks and went in search
of another bar.

This poem first appeared in the poetry magazine The Peeking Cat.