Saturday 6th July 2024, 7.15pm
Fanfare from La Péri, Paul Dukas
Festivities, Roy Douglas
Warsaw Concerto, Richard Addinsell
Soloist: Thomas Luke
Dance of the Hours, Amilcare Ponchielli
Orb and Sceptre, William Walton
Three Card Trick Suite, Pam Wedgwood
Party Piece, Richard Rodney Bennett
Billy The Kid, Aaron Copland
Paul Dukas’ La Péri is a 1912 ballet in one act and is about a man’s search for immortality and an encounter with a mythological Péri (a winged, fairy-like creature). The original music to the ballet was written in 1911 as a Poème Dansé En Un Tableau (Dance Poem in One Scene), and was Dukas’ last published work. The opening fanfare is often performed separately and is a fitting start to our concert.
Festivities, an orchestral overture by British composer Roy Douglas, was written 1972. Although having a large output of his own, Roy Douglas worked alongside Ralph Vaughan Williams, William Walton and Richard Adinsell as editor, copyist and amanuensis. his favourite recreation was motorcycling, travelling throughout England on a Triumph 200cc Tiger Cub until his doctor ordered him to stop after his 80th birthday
Roy Douglas also orchestrated Richard Adinsell’s music for the 1941 film Dangerous Moonlight, which contained the popular Warsaw Concerto. The story revolved around a Polish airman who was also a concert pianist. Addinsell wanted the Warsaw Concerto to sound like Rachmaninov, so while Douglas was working on the orchestration he surrounded himself with the miniature scores of the second and third piano concertos and the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Thomas Luke returns to delight the IWSO audience once more.
Ponchielli’s Dance of the Hours from La Gioconda and is structured in five parts, each representing a portion of the day: dawn, day, dusk, night and the return to morning. It was featured in the Walt Disney film Fantasia, where ostriches, hippos, elephants and alligators perform it as a comic ballet.
Walton’s Orb and Sceptre was composed for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. It has a similar form to Crown Imperial which in turn almost certainly influenced heavily by Elgar’s Pomp & Circumstance Marches. From the opening fanfare to the lyrical middle section and triumphant end this coronation march is everything a regal event requires.
Pam Wedgwood is one of the most recognisable names in educational music with her series Jazzin’ About, Up-Grade! and After Hours, from which many pieces have been selected for graded examinations all over the world. Pam now resides on the Isle of Wight where she is an active member of the community music scene. Her orchestral suite Three Card Trick will be receiving its premiere at this concert.
For some Richard Rodney Bennett was the composer for Four Weddings and a Funeral, for others he was one of the finest jazz pianists of our time. His Party Piece for piano and small orchestra is a delightful work which is very much steeped in jazz and blues and as the title suggests, a nice little number for the soloist to show their technical skills.
Billy the Kid is a one-act ballet drawn from the notorious semi-fictitious outlaw Henry McCarty, also known as Billy the Kid, as a romanticised emblem of the passions and dangers of the Wild West. The suite was first performed in New York in 1941. The music describes crowd scenes, card games (complete with an out-of-tune piano), gunfire, and some reflective moments.