Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Hastings Sinfonia at a previous performance (photo: Jeff Penfold).

Hastings Sinfonia tunes up for spring concert

Alexandra Hudson details the musical delights on the programme at Hastings Sinfonia’s spring concert.

Experience a feast of orchestral works from master composers at this year’s Hastings Sinfonia Orchestra Spring Concert. Expect much-loved classics, that may leave you guessing where you have heard them before, and a delightful range of musical moods spanning the elegiac, romantic, magisterial, rousing, even the menacing – thanks to Slavic witch Baba Yaga.

The concert on Saturday 13 April at St John’s Church in St Leonards-on-Sea opens with Wagner’s Meistersingers Overture. This is bite-size Wagner, delivering all the German composer’s splendour and musical innovation in a piece of just 10 minutes.

Hastings Sinfonia Orchestra is a vibrant orchestra formed by local professional and talented musicians.  Founded in 2012 by composer Polo Piatti, the orchestra performs classical music that is popular and accessible, including film music and new melodic works by living composers.

Conducting is Derek Carden, whose skill, warmth and asides to the audience make for a wonderful shared experience at the concert.

After the Wagner, the orchestra turns to Dvorak, who wrote his New World Symphony in 1893 in New York. The Largo movement opens with stirring brass chords before moving into the lilting main theme. You may be old enough to remember the piece being used to great effect in a much-loved advert for Hovis bread, directed by a young Ridley Scott!

Pianist Howard Southern, who dazzled with his Chopin and Gershwin in recent concerts, will treat us to the Adagio from Grieg’s piano concerto, an opportunity to hear a towering piano classic performed live. The slow movement is dreamlike, beautiful, and utterly transporting.

Wagner rival Verdi’s wonderful La Forza del Destino Overture takes the audience on a musical journey, with a captivating tune by the woodwind (that found huge new fame thanks to an iconic Stella Artois advert in the 1990s featuring a seller of red carnations…) before the piece moves to its joyous, rousing finale.

The orchestra also takes huge pride in performing Piatti’s Catch Me If You Can, a marvellous, witty piece performed by trombone soloist Chris Schmidt.

In the same year as Dvorak was composing his New World Symphony, Finnish composer Sibelius was writing the Karelia overture, another richly textured, evocative piece with a tune you will recognise and enjoy.

More 19th Century musical delight comes from Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, which the orchestra will perform excerpts from, including Baba Yaga.

Join Hastings Sinfonia Orchestra for a night of thrilling music, ideal for those new to classical music or looking to hear enduring favourites.


Hastings Sinfonia Spring Concert Saturday 13 April, 7.30pm, St John the Evangelist Church, Pevensey Road, St Leonards-on-Sea TN38 0RD. Conductor Derek Carden, leader Adrian Charlesworth, artistic director Polo Piatti, soloists Howard Southern (piano) and Chris Schmidt (trombone).

Tickets cost  £13.50 in advance (under 18’s free with paying adult) or £15 at the door. They are available online or from The Bookkeeper bookshop, 1A Kings Road, St Leonards-on-Sea TN37 6EA.

More information from Hastings Sinfonia website.


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Posted 17:00 Saturday, Apr 6, 2024 In: Music & Sound

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