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1 day ago

Haslemere Musical Society

Join us tonight at 7.30pm at Haslemere Hall - all welcome.is conducting Brahms, Symphony No.4 tonight, 7.30pm, with Haslemere Symphony Orchestra at Haslemere Hall.

Here is Wilhelm Furtwängler, perhaps the work's greatest interpreter, conducting the Berlin Philharmonic in 1949:
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2 months ago

Haslemere Musical Society

Looking forward hugely to tomorrow night's sold out concert at Haslemere Hall - always worth checking for returns with the box office and we'd love to see you. Discover more about Elgar's exqusite Chanson de nuit and Chanson de matin, being performed in our concert:The second half of Haslemere Symphony Orchestra and Chorus' concert tomorrow includes Elgar's Chanson de nuit and Chanson de matin. Elgar wrote these two delightful miniatures originally for violin and piano in around 1889-90; the orchestral versions were published in 1901 and first performed the same year at a London Queen’s Hall Promenade Concert, conducted by Sir Henry Wood. Originally Elgar named Chanson de Nuit as ‘Evensong’: It was August Jaeger, his long-term editor at Novello’s and musical confidante immortalised as ‘Nimrod’ in the Enigma Variations – a man with equal talent for musical quality and commercial sense – who suggested the final titles.

Elgar, like Sibelius, was equally talented at writing short ‘salon pieces’ as at major symphonies. In both these ‘Chansons’, he is able instantly to capture a unique mood, and move rapidly into more serious emotional territory, while maintaining a combination of mercurial charm, capriciousness and intimate wistfulness that no other composer captures in the same way. His affection for these early works persisted: in 1918, he quotes the main melody of ‘Chanson de Matin’ in the slow movement of String Quartet in E minor.

Here is the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Sir Adrian Boult: www.youtube.com/watch?v=sH6AJ_WxqZU
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2 months ago

Haslemere Musical Society

Haslemere Symphony Orchestra and Chorus' music director, James Ross, introduces Fauré's Masques and Bergamasques, in the second half of Saturday's concert at Haslemere Hall, 7.30pm:Haslemere Symphony Orchestra and Chorus' concert on Saturday night at Haslemere Hall includes Gabriel Fauré's beautiful Masques et Bergamasques, his last orchestral work, finished near the end of World War One, and first performed in 1919. Fauré had the rare talent, like his younger French compatriot Francis Poulenc, for music whose deceptively charming surface belies the depth of feeling beneath: contemporaries Maurice Ravel and Nadia Boulanger described music whose ‘power is free of affectation or roughness … inwardly moving; without pose, vain exclamations’. In 1918 Saint-Saëns recommended Fauré to Prince Albert of Monaco to compose incidental music for a one-act divertissement with its title taken from Verlaine’s 1869 poem Claire de Lune, set earlier by Fauré as a song in 1887, and the inspiration for Debussy’s eponymous famous piano piece from his Suite Bergamesque:

Votre âme est un paysage choisi
Que vont charmant masques et bergamasques
Jouant du luth et dansant et quasi
Tristes sous leurs déguisements fantasques.

Tout en chantant sur le mode mineur
L'amour vainqueur et la vie opportune
Ils n'ont pas l’air de croire à leur bonheur
Et leur chanson se mêle au clair de lune,

Au calme clair de lune triste et beau,
Qui fait rêver les oiseaux dans les arbres
Et sangloter d’extase les jets d’eau,
Les grands jets d'eau sveltes parmi les marbres.

Your soul is a select landscape
bewitched by masques and bergamasques playing the lute as they go and dancing, almost sad beneath their almost fanciful disguises.

Singing as they go in the minor key of conquering love and the favours of life, they don’t seem quite to believe in their happiness, and their song mingles with the moonlight.

With the clear moonlight, sad and beautiful, that sets the birds dreaming in the trees
and the fountains sobbing in ecstasy,
the tall slender fountains sob amid the marble statues.

‘Masques et bergamasques’ evoked eighteenth century commedia dell’arte ‘fêtes galantes’ paintings of Antoine Watteau and the old rustic Italian dances named after the northern Italian city of Bergamo. In the Monte Carlo divertissement, the commedia dell’arte characters spy and comment on their aristocratic audience, the programme describing:

'Harlequin, Gilles, and Colombine, whose task is usually to amuse the aristocratic audience, take their turn at being spectators at a ‘fête galante’ on the island of Cythera. The lords and ladies who as a rule applaud their efforts now unwittingly provide them with entertainment to their coquettish behaviour.'

Fauré was an experienced theatre collaborator, writing for Dumas’s Caligula, Haraucourt’s Shylock (after Shakespeare), Molière’s Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, and Maeterlinck’s Pelléas et Mélisande. For Monte Carlo he used existing music including his setting of the Verlaine poem and Pavane, two choruses, earlier music including three movements adapted from his abandoned 1869 symphony, and a new concluding Pastorale, which ends the concert suite. After the three movements of exquisite charm, the masks are torn off, and Fauré transforms his musical ideas into a far more emotionally complicated and musically reflective world, including a painfully poignant reminiscence from the Ouverture.

Here is the English Sinfonia, full of panache, conducted by Sir Charles Groves: www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoXpyZ-uTjA
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