Music for spring

Following a fairly quiet winter season I have a number of orchestral performances coming up in the next few weeks. After helping out in Worksop College’s orchestral concert on Thursday I will be heading back to Lincolnshire to play in the Boston Orchestra’s Spring Concert in St Mary’s Church, Frampton. The programme includes Spring from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, with soloist Mauro Maglioni, Ernest Tomlinson’s Suite of English Folk Songs and Haydn’s Symphony no. 104 ‘London’.  The orchestra will be conducted by my dad, Roy Phillips, in what will be his last concert with the orchestra after many years of involvement with the group both as musical director and player. Tickets are available on the door (£8 or free for under-16s) and proceeds will be donated to the church.

Spring flowers

On Saturday 16th May Sheffield Chamber Orchestra presents its final concert of the season at High Storrs School, Sheffield. Local student Lily Frascina will be the soloist in Franz Strauss’ Horn Concerto and the evening will end with Schubert’s 3rd Symphony. Tickets are available in advance from the orchestra’s website.

The concert comes at the end of an eventful week of music in Sheffield, as Music in the Round’s May Festival will be taking place in the Crucible. I always enjoy attending events there and this year I am particularly looking forward to seeing the Marmen Quartet team up with Ensemble 360 in Mendelssohn’s wonderful Octet on Friday 8th.

I have a number of exciting projects coming up later this year, so keep checking back to see what I’m up to!

Beethoven in South Yorkshire

This week it’s school half term and I’m immersing myself in Beethoven’s music in preparation for next weekend’s Sheffield Chamber Orchestra concert (Saturday 1st March, Firth Hall, Sheffield). There are a few tickets left, so visit the orchestra’s website if you want one!

Beethoven Free CROPPED

Our programme begins with the overture to Il matrimonio segreto (The Secret Marriage) by the Italian composer Domenico Cimarosa; it’s very fast and good fun to play! We will then be joined by the wonderful violinist Ben Nabarro for Beethoven’s Violin Concerto.

In the second half of the concert we will perform Beethoven’s third symphony, the ‘Eroica’. This work was premiered in 1805, just a year before the violin concerto, and initially was not well received by the critics who found it too long. Beethoven himself later suggested that it be performed near the beginning of a concert while the audience was still alert!! It is much grander in scale than his first two symphonies and the first movement is uncharacteristically long for the time (691 bars). The second movement is a sombre, evocative funeral march and this is followed by the light Scherzo and Trio and the Finale, a theme and variations.

Initial sketches for a third symphony date back to 1802, but during the years Beethoven was composing it he took a break to work on several other projects, including the ‘Waldstein’ Piano Sonata op. 53. A few months ago I heard the latter performed by the pianist Tim Horton, who is currently part-way through a cycle of all Beethoven’s piano sonatas. The next installment will also be next weekend (Friday 28th February at Emmanuel Church, Barnsley) and includes Op.26 in Ab, Op. 22 in Bb, Op. 90 in E minor and Op. 101 in A. Fabulous playing not to be missed! (For ticket information visit Music in the Round)

If you are a Beethoven fan then South Yorkshire is definitely the place to be next weekend!