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Schubert in Italy

music by Gioachino Rossini, Franz Schubert and Luciano Berio

with four natural horn soloists - Finlay Bain, Joel Roberts, Dan de Souza and Ed Spencer


4th January 2015

To welcome the start of 2015 we planned an Italian-themed concert bursting with excitement:


First we call upon the king of comic operas, Gioacchino Rossini, with his overture for The Thieving Magpie (La gazza ladra). Military snare drum rolls precede a grand march; from the get-go it can hardly fail to grab your attention. Rossini’s medley of wonderful and playful tunes is brought towards a rousing finish assisted by his infamous bit-by-bit crescendo device.


After an operatic opener we move to a composer whose operas were pretty unsuccessful, yet whose dramatic sensibility is simply timeless: Franz Schubert. Neatly capturing the virility of the 18 year-old composer, Schubert’s Symphony No. 3 in D major (D.200) also reminds us of Rossini’s incredible influence on the first half of the 19th century. Parts of Schubert’s third symphony echo classical subjects and structures made famous by Haydn and Mozart, but details of his harmony, orchestration, and impeccable craft of form share with us a rarely heard side of his lyric genius.

After an interval we return to Rossini with his work Rendez-vous la chasse for 4 hand horns and orchestra.  Simple hunting calls and a dancing, inevitably growing, theme make this 4 minute work an opportunity to showcase four brilliant soloists (probably not in the same way as this video).


The final work of the evening moves us 180 years closer to the present day, yet at the same time it remains in Schubert's last year: 1828… Luciano Berio’s Rendering is based on the sketches for Schubert’s unfinished Symphony No. 10 in D major (D.936a).  A work which is rapidly growing in popularity, Rendering leaves Schubert's original parts intact, allowing Berio to enter the score only where there are gaps or accompaniment missing.  The result is a sonic experience quite unlike any other - one not to miss!  Listeners time-travel from late Schubert, rich in sad beauty, to Berio in 1980s, exposing the tears in the body of the work like sonic scar tissue.


The complete evening’s experience will hopefully highlight how these three composers share quite a number of musical genes and have subtle links which may contextualise them in a new light.


Finlay Bain studied at the Royal College of Music as a Foundation Scholar under the guidance of Simon Rayner, graduating in 2014 as Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours. Currently he is studying for his Postgraduate degree at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama as a Leverhulme Trust Scholar with David Pyatt. Finlay studied the natural horn with Sue Dent at the RCM, and is continuing his studies with Roger Montgomery at the GSMD.


Finlay was a member of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester and the European Union Youth Orchestra, and has played professionally with the London Symphony Orchestra, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.


Daniel de Souza began playing the horn at the age of 8. Daniel completed his undergraduate studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2014, and he is now studying on the LSO Orchestral Artistry Masters course at the GSMD, where his professors include David Pyatt, Jonathan Lipton, Chris Parkes, and Alec Frank-Gemmill. Daniel studies the natural horn with Roger Montgomery, and in November 2013 performed Mozart’s 3rd Horn Concerto conducted by Nicholas Kraemer.


Daniel also regularly works professionally with orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, New English Concert Orchestra and Southern Sinfonia.


Edward Spencer is in his fourth year of undergraduate study at the Royal Northern College of Music and recently graduated from the University of Manchester with First Class Honours. He is an alumnus of the National Youth Orchestra and has worked with orchestras such as the Manchester Concert Orchestra, Northern Chamber Orchestra and Manchester Camerata.


As a natural horn specialist, Ed has participated in the Academy of Ancient Music’s AAMplify Orchestra and in numerous historical repertoire projects at both the RNCM and UoM. His forthcoming period playing includes a recording of Mozart’s Serenades for Wind Octet with The Pantheon and a performance of Pergolesi’s Missa Romana with Leeds Baroque.


Joel Roberts started playing the horn at the age of 13 and achieved grade 8 with distinction by the age of 16. In 2011, he accepted an offer to study at the Royal Northern College of Music and is currently in fourth year learning with Lindsey Stoker, Julian Plummer and Tim Jackson as well as studying natural horn with Beccy Goldberg. Whilst at the Northern, Joel has also taken part in masterclasses given by Frøydis Ree Wekre, Sue Dent and Thomas Hauschild.


Last summer Joel was principal horn of the RNCM Symphony Orchestra on their tour to Tuscany. Through Professional Access Schemes, Joel has played alongside the BBC Philharmonic and Hallé Orchestras. Joel’s studies at the RNCM have been generously supported by the John Fewkes (Leicestershire) Instrumentalist Scholarship Fund.

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