Start of rehearsals today with our new Conductor. So exciting! Details of our concert can be found on our website www.hcoweb.co.uk. Or watch our new video: https://youtu.be/EGbr2ZqpcRc

Lawrence our new Conductor

We are pleased to announce the appointment of our new Conductor – Lawrence Tatnall

We are pleased to announce the appointment of our new Conductor – Lawrence Tatnall PG Dip BMus.

We started the recruitment process for a new conductor nearly a year ago, with 22 applications, 8 interview candidates, a final shortlist of 3 and then 2 conductors covering alternating rehearsal weeks this last term and sharing the baton at the last concert. Congratulations have to go to Angelo Tsocos, who made the final two in this process who acquitted himself admirably – but we could only have one conductor!

We’re very excited to be working with Lawrence and planning out some exciting programmes for the next concert season.  In the meantime, tickets are already on sale for our summer concert “THIEVES, LOVERS & PRINCESSES” which takes place on Saturday 22nd June at Frances Bardsley Academy, Romford. See Lawrence’s biography at Lawrence’ Biography.

HCO Announce their Spring Concert

 

Artwork by Hui Yan

Our journey starts by taking us to Rome. The date is 1532, and it’s carnival time. Benvenuto Cellini is about to cast the famous statue of Perseus commissioned by the Pope, but nothing is easy.

Then we travel to Vienna in 1816 where the 19-year old Franz Schubert has just finished his lively, youthful and sweet 5th Symphony.

We continue our journey to the ‘Paradise Garden’ of Frederick Delius but, in this case, it is an inn where two star-crossed lovers meet before they take their own lives.

The end of our journey is in a garden full of stone statues. It’s where the magical realm of Kostcheï the Immortal rules, transforming people into stone. Our hero, Prince Ivan, captures the fantastical Firebird, a powerful female spirit bird with magical feathers that provide beauty and protection. After granting her freedom, she gives him one of her magic feathers. This feather offers our hero the lifeline he needs to rescue the Princesses from the evil Kostcheï and to recall the Firebird to return the statues to life. Of course, Ivan marries one of the Princesses.

For this concert, we will have two conductors, as it is the final part of our recruitment process looking to appoint a long-term conductor.
Our journey starts by taking us to Rome. The date is 1532, and it’s carnival time. Benvenuto Cellini is about to cast the famous statue of Perseus commissioned by the Pope, but nothing is easy.

Then we travel to Vienna in 1816 where the 19-year old Franz Schubert has just finished his lively, youthful and sweet 5th Symphony.

We continue our journey to the ‘Paradise Garden’ of Frederick Delius but, in this case, it is an inn where two star-crossed lovers meet before they take their own lives.

The end of our journey is in a garden full of stone statues. It’s where the magical realm of Kostcheï the Immortal rules, transforming people into stone. Our hero, Prince Ivan, captures the fantastical Firebird, a powerful female spirit bird with magical feathers that provide beauty and protection. After granting her freedom, she gives him one of her magic feathers. This feather offers our hero the lifeline he needs to rescue the Princesses from the evil Kostcheï and to recall the Firebird to return the statues to life. Of course, Ivan marries one of the Princesses.

For this concert, we will have two conductors, as it is the final part of our recruitment process looking to appoint a long-term conductor.

There will be Tears Tonight!

Tonight, the 24 November at The Francis Bardsley Academy Havering Concert Orchestra’s will perform the last concert under the baton of Bill Brooks, who is retiring after a lifetime of service to music in Havering.

How do you do justice to a man who has devoted his life to music in Havering.

Bill’s first conducting role was to conduct the School Percussion Band at the Hornchurch Infant Schools Music Festival. He was 7. At 69 he is conducting the HCO for the last time. He has been our conductor for the last 13 years and before that was a cellist with the Orchestra.

You will find more details in our Programme available this evening.

Bill is a conductor, a cellist, a teacher, a mentor, a ‘Barber Shop’ singer and a wonderful person.

He has devoted huge amounts of time to the Royal School of Church Music (Essex and East London Area) and to the Bishops’ Chorister Award, and to music at Hornchurch’s St Andrews Church.

In the orchestra today there are three cellists who were taught by Bill, one was eight when her lessons started. Several where taught their orchestral skills in the Hornchurch Youth Training Orchestra when Bill conducted (1981 to 1992). One of these, travels 70 miles each week to attend rehearsals and says – “As I write this with a lump in my throat, I cannot imagine rehearsals without his encouragement, warm sense of humour and laughter”.

You will forgive me if I drop into the first person on this very special posting. I took up the cello aged 56 with no musical background. I had bought a cello – but how to play it. I asked a local music shop for anyone who could teach me. “Well there’s Bill Brooks but I think he is retired”. I phoned and well Bill gave up his Tuesday evenings and that was over 12 years ago!

Each of us has a story like that.

So come and join us on this very special occasion.

William Brooks’ Last Symphony.

At 7:30 pm on Saturday 24 November, for our third piece, we will be performing no not Brooks’ but Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 5. But it will be the last symphony we will be playing under Bill’s baton.
We have played this work before, in the spring of 2016, but our conductor wanted us to play this work for his last concert – and we are only too happy to do just that.

This symphony is very popular with orchestras, there are billions of versions (we only exaggerate slightly) to listen too. The recurring main theme is used as a device to unify all four movements of the symphony. This motto theme, sometimes dubbed “Fate theme”, has a funereal character in the first movement, but gradually transforms into a triumphant march, which dominates the final movement.

There is a lot more about the Symphony and the other pieces in our excellent Programme, available on the night. But if you can’t wait, there is an excellent article on the symphony complete with the audio of these main themes. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_No._5_(Tchaikovsky).

We hope you will come and join us at 7.30 pm Saturday 24 November at the Frances Bardsley Academy to give Bill Brooks a fabulous send-off.

Image may contain: one or more people and glasses

 

First rehearsal with our virtuoso soloist, Florian Mitrea.

Yesterday evening we had our first rehearsal with our virtuoso soloist, Florian Mitrea who will be performing the Grieg Piano Concerto at our forthcoming concert. All I would say is that if the rehearsal is an indication of the concert performance, our audience are in for an absolute treat. Not only did it feel as if the orchestra, conductor and soloist had performed together forever, a more musical and charming soloist you could not wish to meet. Our snap shows our Chairman Paul Kelly making some announcements whilst Bill Brooks, is looking forward to his tea break, whilst our treasurer is in deep conversation with Florian…!

We remember

We remember

We hope you will come and join us at 7.30 pm Saturday 24 November to remember ‘those that will never be old’.
Picture by Bill Brooks of the score of George Butterworth’s Rhapsody – ‘A Shropshire Lad

 

No automatic alt text available.

Florian Mitrea comes to Romford

At 7:30 pm on Saturday 24 November for our second piece we will be joined by the remarkable pianist Florian Mitrea. He will be performing Grieg’s piano concerto in A minor, op. 16. He is kindly supported by Making Music’s Philip & Dorothy Green Young Artists scheme, and he holds their award for 2017-19

Florian was born in Bucharest but has been based in the UK since 2008. His piano studies started in Bucharest and is currently studying with Boris Petrushansky at the Accademia Pianistica Internazionale in Italy.

Florian has participated in numerous master-classes, including those by Stephen Hough and John Lill. In 2013, Florian was granted a fellowship at Yale University. He is a Kirckman Concert Society Artist for 2018-19. In March 2018, Florian was appointed an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music and has also been awarded prizes in numerous international piano competitions.

You can read more about Florian at his excellent website https://florianmitrea.uk/about. You can also find audio tracks, videos and details about his latest CD there.

Now a bit about Edvard Grieg himself. He was born in Bergen, Norway in 1843. Like George Butterworth he used folk music to influence his own style. He brought Norwegian music to the world’s attention and helped Norway develop its own national identity.

Edvard wrote the Piano Concerto when he was 24 and it is one of the most popular piano concerti ever written. 17 years later he wrote sketches for another, but it was never finished.

Grieg did, however, revise the first Concerto regularly throughout his life and the final version was completed in 1907, only a matter of months before he died. The music is often compared to Robert Schumann piano concerto. We played this concerto back in the autumn of 2010 with Jeffrey Lague as the soloist – that was a great evening.

More information can be found at http://griegmuseum.no/en/about-grieg.

We hope you will come and join us at 7.30 pm Saturday 24 November to hear this wonderful concerto played by a brilliant international pianist.

Please invite your friends to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.