English Symphony Orchestra Performs for the First Time at St Peters Church, Hereford


Alexander Sitkovetsky

Alexander Sitkovetsky

Beethoven in Hereford with Alexander Sitkovetsky
26th September 2021

Take a leisurely stroll through the Italian countryside on a Sunday afternoon…

Mendelssohn Symphony No.4 “Italian” 
Doreen Carwithen arr. Woods Lento for Strings (World Premiere)
Beethoven Violin Concerto
Soloist: Alexander Sitkovetsky (Violin)

Opening the English Symphony Orchestra’s concert in Hereford on 26th September 2021 is Mendelssohn’s Symphony No.4 “Italian”: a picturesque postcard from Italy influenced by his tour of Europe in 1830. The piece is an expression of how Italy made him feel and although the work was subject to many revisions and never published during his lifetime, the impression of a pastoral Italian landscape is effortless for audiences to imagine and truly captures the essence of the excitement of travel and new horizons.

Doreen Carwithen was a substantial creative personality in her own right, having written scores for over 30 films and numerous classical works, however in 1961 Carwithen went into retirement and Mary Alwyn became her public persona, concealing her own composing past in devotion and dedication to the music and legacy of her husband, William Alwyn.

At the time Carwithen struggled to gain the interests of a publisher who would accept music written by a woman and consequently much of her work did not gain the recognition it deserved. It was only after her husband’s death that she slowly resumed interest in her own compositions. But now it’s time for a revival of her music once more: to compliment the sonorous tones featured in tonight’s programme, conductor Kenneth Woods has produced an arrangement titled Lento for Strings.

To close the performance is Alexander Sitkovetsky, who is no stranger to the concerto. Having performed his concerto debut alongside Lord Menuhin at the tender age of eight (the Bach Double no less!) it’s remarkable to hear how Sitkovetsky’s playing still “harks back to an older tradition not often heard these days” Washington Post.

As you may well know, the premiere of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto did not get off to the best start… Beethoven had composed a work that did not conform to the conventions of the time and the soloist, Franz Clement, had no time to practice Beethoven’s last-minute changes and spent a considerable amount of time sight-reading during the concert. However, despite its rocky start, the concerto is now an established and celebrated part of the violin’s core repertoire and audiences can experience the stunning interplay between Sitkovetsky’s interpretation alongside the English Symphony Orchestra in Hereford’s oldest and largest parish, St Peter’s Church. And don’t worry; unlike Franz Clement, Sitkovetsky has had a little more time to practice!

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