Chester Philharmonic Orchestra


Life and death in an art gallery

Chester Cathedral

Saturday 2, March 2019 7.30

Rachmaninoff   Isle of the Dead

Mozart                Clarinet Concerto

Mussorgsky/Ravel        Pictures at an Exhibition

Conductor - David Chatwin

Katherine Lacy (Clarinet)

This evening’s soloist is the principal clarinet of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Katherine, a native of Wrexham, will perform Mozart’s beautiful and haunting Clarinet Concerto. The Concerto was written in the same year of Mozart’s death and the first performance took place only three months before he died.

Two pieces in this concert were inspired by paintings. Rachmaninoff saw Arnold Boecklin’s painting entitled Isle of the Dead and composed this splendid Tone Poem. Mussorgsky arranged an exhibition of paintings by Viktor Hartmann and painted musical impressions of the paintings for piano. We have Ravel to thank for the orchestration. We have bizarre subjects, the ballet of the unhatched chicks, the hut on hens legs etc. Perhaps the most famous “picture” is The Great Gate at Kiev, a gate which didn’t exist. Hartmann, an architect, submitted the picture of a proposed gate to celebrate the failed assassination attempt on Tsar Alexander II .

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Chester Cathedral

Saturday 18, May 2019 7.30

Haydn     The Creation

Conductor - Graham Jordan Ellis

Milly Forest (soprano)

Toby Ward (Tenor)

Peter Edge (Baritone)

Chester Music Society Choir have joined together with the Chester Philharmonic to bring one of the worlds best loved Oratorios to Chester. Written between 1797 and 1798, with libretto by  Gottfried van Swieten  it is considered by many to be Haydn’s masterpiece. Soprano Milly Forest will be remembered as the young student working in the Wigmore Hall cloakroom who in 2017 was suddenly offered the chance to perform Schubert’s songs as the singer had suddenly had to cancel. Toby Ward is a Yorkshire Lad and recording artist for Hyperion records is a Graduate of King’s College Cambridge and Peter Edge is no stranger to the good people of Cheshire and a graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music.

Please Note:- This is a Chester Music Society Choir Concert and does not constitute part of the reductions for Chester Philharmonic Orchestra Associate Members.

Tickets are available from Chester Cathedral Box Office on 01244 500959 direct sales at the cathedral  reception desk.

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Love, Life and Death

Chester Cathedral

Saturday 29, June 2019 7.30pm

Hindemith :- Symphonic Metamorphosis of themes by Carl Maria von Weber.

Shostakovich:- ‘Cello Concerto

Prokofiev:-         Romeo and Juliet


Conductor - Marco Bellasi

Findlay Spence

How better to close our Season of Life and Death in music than to hear these three very unusual, yet well known, pieces of (fairly) modern classical music.  The Hindemith, with possibly the longest title in the musical repertoire, was composed in 1940 for piano, but then re-scored for orchestral performance in 1943. It is tuneful with toe tapping exuberance. Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto was composed in 1959 for Mstislav Rostropovich and is unusual in that the final three of the four movement work are played without a break. Folk tunes form some of the themes and there is even a reference to Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death. The Prokofiev is probably the best known of all the contributions to this evenings concert. It is surprisingly the oldest of the three pieces being composed as far back as 1935. The Ballet for which it was composed was however not performed until 1940. The music is of course programmatic and tells the story of Romeo and Juliet in musical form. The fight between the Montagues and Capulets is of course very well known as the introductory theme to the BBC Programme “The Apprentice”. Our soloist Findlay Spence is a young up and coming star from Scotland. He is currently Cellist and Composer studying at the Royal College of Music in London. Musician in Residence at St. Paul’s Church, Knightsbridge.

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