BERNSTEIN, ETHEL SMYTH AND BRAHMS
Sunday, 25th November 2018
7.00pm, Chelsea Old Town Hall, Kings Road, SW3 5EE
Bernstein, Overture ‘Candide’
Ethel Smyth, Concerto for Violin and Horn
(Soloists: Fenella Humphries and Joel Ashford)
Brahms, Symphony No 3 op.90 in F minor
Our season opens with a relative concert rarity, a performance of Ethel Smyth’s beautiful and evocative Concerto for Violin and Horn.
The work stands on its own merits, but performances of her work are particularly fitting in this hundredth anniversary year of female suffrage given her prominence as a suffragetist. She composed The March of the Women which became the anthem of the women’s suffrage movement. She also spent two months in Holloway prison for throwing stones through the windows of conservatives opposed to the vote for women.
She was a strong character and worth celebrating:
“Because I have conducted my own operas and love sheep-dogs; because I generally dress in tweeds, and sometimes, at winter afternoon concerts, have even conducted in them; because I was a militant suffragette and seized a chance of beating time to “The March of the Women” from the window of my cell in Holloway Prison with a tooth-brush; because I have written books, spoken speeches, broadcast, and don’t always make sure that my hat is on straight; for these and other equally pertinent reasons, in a certain sense I am well known.”
Our soloists are violinist Fenella Humphries and horn player Joel Ashford. Fenella’s playing has been described as ‘alluring’ and ‘unforgettable’ and her recordings of Bach to the Future, a set of 6 new unaccompanied violin works by Sally Beamish, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and others, have twice been picked by BBC Music Magazine as instrumental “discs of the month”. They are well worth catching.
The concerto is paired with Brahms’ 3rd symphony. There are musical links between the two composers: Brahms was one of Smyth’s greatest inspirations; her concerto was first performed in 1927, thirty years after the death of Brahms; and the instrumentation is strikingly reminiscent of that of the Brahms Horn Trio.
The concert begins with Bernstein’s exciting Candide overture, another anniversary tribute, 100 years on from the composer’s birth.
About the KPO
The Kensington Philharmonic Orchestra, founded in 1965, is one of London’s leading amateur orchestras. It provides opportunities for advanced players of all ages to perform works from the classical and modern repertoire, including pieces that are rarely heard in the concert hall.
We’re always keen to hear from potential new members. We currently have vacancies for all strings and brass players. Please get in touch if you would like to sit in on a trial rehearsal!