"Didcot's new symphony orchestra"

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 3  Sunday 3 March 2019 at 16.00

  Cornerstone Arts Centre, 25 Station Road, Didcot OX11 7NE

We begin our third concert with the popular and exuberant overture to Glinka's opera Russlan and Ludmilla. Then comes an unjustly neglected gem by Glazunov – his tuneful Poème Lyrique, and the first half ends with Mussorgsky's epic Night on the Bare Mountain – depicting a witches' sabbath, and full of contrasts and innovation. The concert also includes one of the most popular symphonies of all time – Tchaikovsky's Fifth. Who can resist hearing the famous horn solo in the second movement?
GlinkaRusslan and Ludmilla Overture
GlazunovPoème Lyrique
MussorgskyNight on the Bare Mountain
TchaikovskySymphony no 5 in E minor

 4  Sunday 9 June 2019 at 16.00

  Cornerstone Arts Centre, 25 Station Road, Didcot OX11 7NE

Our fourth concert begins with Emil von Reznicek's effervescent Donna Diana Overture, followed by an unjustly neglected melodic miniature by Glazunov. Young rising star Leo Appel then joins us for Bruch's ever-popular First Violin Concerto. Henri Duparc was a very self-critical French composer who destroyed much of his orchestral output. His Danse Lente is one of only three surviving orchestral pieces, and it deserves to be heard much more frequently. Effervescence returns aplenty as the concert ends with the 17-year-old Bizet's tuneful and remarkably accomplished Symphony in C.
ReznicekDonna Diana Overture
GlazunovSerenade no 1 in A
BruchViolin Concerto no 1 in G minor (Leo Appel)
DuparcDanse Lente
BizetSymphony in C

 5  Sunday 6 October 2019 at 16.00

  Cornerstone Arts Centre, 25 Station Road, Didcot OX11 7NE

We begin our fifth concert with a symphonic fantasy by Rachmaninov – The Rock – depicting with vivid orchestration the meeting of a young girl and an older man during a Christmas Eve blizzard, and much admired by Tchaikovsky. Wagner's opera Tannhauser describes the struggle between sacred and profane love - we play a synthesis of the opera's two most famous orchestral excerpts. The concert ends with Rimsky-Korsakov's dazzling masterpiece Scheherazade, in which the solo violin part is played by DCO's Leader, Kate Bailey.
RachmaninovThe Rock - Symphonic Fantasia
WagnerTannhauser: Prelude and Venusberg Music

 6  March 2020

Our sixth concert begins with the quintessentially English rhapsody – A Shropshire Lad – whose unique atmosphere leaves us wondering what future masterpieces Butterworth (a teacher at Radley College) would have written had he not been killed on the Somme. Then comes a superb but rarely-played gem by Josef Suk – Dvorak's son-in-law – whose Fairy Tale is a broad melodic tapestry that relates the path of true love. We end the concert with Franck's evergreen Symphony in D minor, which has delighted audiences for 130 years.
ButterworthA Shropshire Lad
SukFairy Tale - suite for large orchestra
FranckSymphony in D minor

 7  June 2020

A refreshing summer sorbet of a concert - with Prokofiev's dazzling Classical Symphony opening a glittering programme of summery classical music gems. The Czech Suite's five dance-like movements seem to portray summery feelings in Dvořák's homeland, while Lars Erik Larsson's Pastoral Suite evokes high-latitude long-day Swedish summers – the piece is written in a neo-classical style similar to Prokofiev's Classical Symphony. A true classic masterpiece concludes our concert – the charming and high-spirited Eighth Symphony of Beethoven, written in in the summer of 1812 and popular ever since.
ProkofievSymphony no 1 "Classical"
DvořákCzech Suite
LarssonPastoral Suite
BeethovenSymphony no 8 in F

 8  October 2020

The Russian theme to this concert begins with the stirring Adagio from Spartacus - made popular by the TV series The Onedin Line. Nicolai Myaskovsky composed in the tuneful tradition of his teachers Glière, Lyadov and Rimsky-Korsakov, and became known as the father of the Russian symphony – his 27th (and last) being the finest. Mussorgsky's glittering Pictures at an Exhibition, as stunningly orchestrated by Ravel, needs little introduction to concert audiences – as a descriptive musical portrayal of works of art by Victor Hartmann during his travels abroad.
KhachaturianAdagio from Spartacus and Phrygia
MyaskovskySymphony no 27 in C minor
Mussorgsky, arr. RavelPictures at an Exhibition

 9  March 2021

Wonderfully depictive orchestration is a feature of this concert, as exemplified by Richard Strauss' Four Last Songs with its soaring soprano melodies over a large orchestra. Vincent D'Indy is unjustly neglected these days, but his evocative three-movement symphony describing dawn and sunrise, afternoon in the pines, and evening are long overdue a hearing (probably the first time his music has been performed in Didcot). Two orchestral excerpts from Wagner's Parsifal demonstrate the composer's gift for melody, rich harmony and masterful orchestration.
WagnerParsifal: Prelude
D'IndySummer Day in the Mountains
WagnerParsifal: Good Friday Music
Strauss, RichardFour Last Songs (Mary Pope)

 10  June 2021

Leconte de Lisle's poem Les Éolides (The Breezes) captures an idyllic view of spring, with breezes rustling through trees and meadows alike – vividly portrayed in this symphonic poem by Cesar Franck. Fauré's Pelleas and Melisande is no less engaging – a four-movement suite containing the best music from his incidental music to Maeterlinck's drama. The Wasps, written afer three months studying with Ravel in Paris, is the most often played movement from incidental music to Aristophanes' play. Debussy's Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune is considered a turning point in the history of music, and we admire the impressionistic dreams and desires of the faun in the heat of the afternoon. The tuneful Serenade no 1, which predates Brahms' symphonies, drew rapturous applause at its 1858 premiere.
FranckLes Eolides
FauréPélleas et Mélisande
Vaughan WilliamsWasps Overture
DebussyPrelude a l'après-midi d'un faune
BrahmsSerenade 1

 11  October 2021

Phaeton, the son of Helios in Greek mythology, is the subject of Saint Saens' captivating symphonic poem. Howard Hanson was one of America's leading symphonists, and the pinnacle of his achievement is widely thought to be his Second Symphony, with its broad romantic sweep that justifies its subtitle. Hungarian-born Viennese composer Karl Goldmark continues the "romantic" theme with the highly melodic piece that cemented his fame – his Sakuntala Overture. And no programme with a "romantic" theme could end without Tchaikovsky's immortal Fantasy Overture - Romeo and Juliet.
Saint SaënsPhaéton
Hanson, HowardSymphony 2 "Romantic"
GoldmarkSakuntala Overture
TchaikovskyRomeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture

Later programmes may be subject to adjustment, but we guarantee all concerts are highly tuneful!


Cornerstone, Didcot
Cornerstone, Didcot
Cornerstone Arts Centre
25 Station Road
OX11 7NE



Conductor & Musical Director
Geoff Bushell
Didcot, Oxfordshire
01235 818848
Geoff Bushell, Conductor and Musical Director, Didcot Concert Orchestra