Top Classical Guitarist to Perform at Symphony Orchestra Autumn Concert

Henley Symphony Orchestra is delighted to present its Autumn concert in the beautiful surroundings of St Mary’s Church, Henley on Saturday 11 November.

Their guest conductor is Jacques Cohen, Principal Conductor of the Cohen Ensemble (formerly the Isis Ensemble), which performs regularly at London’s Southbank Centre and around the UK. He has conducted at the UK’s leading conservatoires, where he has also given master classes and composition seminars. He is Principal Conductor of the Royal College of Music Junior Department Symphony Orchestra and Lloyd’s of London Choir.

Soloist
Described by BBC Music Magazine as ‘A worthy successor to Julian Bream’, Australian-born guitarist Craig Ogden is one of the most exciting artists of his generation. He studied guitar from the age of seven and percussion from the age of thirteen. In 2004, he became the youngest instrumentalist to receive a Fellowship Award from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. He has played concertos with many of the world’s leading orchestras and this season will perform with, among others, the BBC Concert Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra, Oulu Symphony Orchestra (Finland) and the Northern Chamber Orchestra. Craig is Director of Guitar at the Royal Northern College of Music, Adjunct Fellow of the University of Western Australia and Associate Artist at The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. He plays a 2011 Greg Smallman guitar on strings made by D’Addario.

Programme
Escape from the autumnal English chill with works inspired by a fantastical European fairy tale and the sights and sounds of Italy and Spain.

Written in 1834 by Mendelssohn, the Overture: The Fair Melusine evokes the story of a water sprite who marries a mortal on the condition that he never asks her where she goes on Saturdays. Mendelssohn had attended a performance of the opera, written by Kreutzer, and was so taken with the failure of the music to do justice to the subject that he wrote his own overture, which he was very fond of.

The sunny Spanish tunes and the extraordinary beauty of its central Adagio make Joaquín Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez one of the most popular concertos of all time. Rodrigo, who was blind from the age of three, was reputedly inspired by the gardens of the palace of Aranjuez, which he had visited on his honeymoon. The piece was written in 1939, amid the chaos of the Spanish Civil War. His Zarabanda lejana y Villancico for string orchestra (1928-30) was originally written for solo guitar and piano but he later arranged it for string orchestra, adding a contrasting Villancico, a simple rondo, to the more sombre Sarabande.

Mendelssohn toured Italy in 1830. His popular ‘Italian’ Symphony no.4 was based on sketches written during his travels. He declared ‘it will be the jolliest piece I have ever done, especially the last movement’. The symphony acquired its nickname from the dramatic rhythms of Neapolitan dances in the final movement.

Tickets are £20 unreserved and £8 for U16s/students, obtainable by phone 07726 459261 or via hsoboxoffice@gmail.com.

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