Public Concert 12 March 2023

Public Concert 12 March 2023
Type of post: Orchestra news item
Sub-type: No sub-type
Posted By: Sumit Biswas
Status: Current
Date Posted: Sun, 12 Mar 2023
Wantage Orchestra are thrilled to accompany the Oxfordshire soloist Julia Hollander (mezzo soprano) for a performance of Elgar’s Sea Pictures; a work based on poems by five different authors. It is the only song cycle Elgar wrote for voice and orchestra.

The concert starts with The Wreckers Overture by Dame Ethel Smyth; born in 1858 she rose to become one of the most prominent composers of the time.
Besides being a prolific composer Ethel was a well-known suffragette, author, friend and possibly lover to some of the most famous figures of the early 20th century. Smyth was arrested alongside Pankhurst for militant suffragism, and when Beecham went to visit her in Holloway prison, he found the composer conducting from her window with a toothbrush.
The Wreckers is an invented tale of an inward-looking Cornish coastal community that survives by luring ships to their doom, Smyth shows a keen instinct for musical drama, while her score – written in the traditions of Brahms and Wagner, but with a definite personality of her own – exudes energy and momentum.
Dvo?ák was born the son of a butcher-innkeeper in the rural countryside north of Prague. His father wanted him to follow in his footsteps, but Dvo?ák wanted to play alongside the village musicians at dances and celebrations. With the odds stacked against him he became one of Europe’s most celebrated musicians.
For one performance of the Sixth Symphony, the 27-year-old Edward Elgar was playing in the first violins. He wrote to a friend “I wish you could hear Dvo?ák‘s music. It is simply ravishing, so tuneful and clever, and the orchestration is wonderful. I simply cannot describe it; it must be heard.”
The Wantage Orchestra are under the young guest conductor Kentaro Machida, a Japanese conductor and organist. A recent first-class graduate of the University of Oxford, Kentaro was senior organ scholar at Merton College, Oxford, accompanying the college’s renowned mixed-voice choir in their BBC broadcasts, CD recordings, and UK and international tours. He was previously the principal conductor of Oxford University Sinfonietta.