Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Thomasin Tresize rehearsing with the Hastings Sinfonia

Thomasin Trezise rehearsing with the Hastings Sinfonia

A pride of Hastings musicians

The Hastings Sinfonia can be relied upon to present a programme of popular and melodic music which includes a good range of romantic classics, lesser known composers whose works are nevertheless immediately identifiable and the works of living composers which are melodic and accessible. This Saturday’s Winter Concert is no exception, writes Chris Cormack.

Howard Southern

Howard Southern

This local orchestra was founded by its artistic director, Hastings’ own classical composer Polo Piatti, and consists of local talented amateur and professional musicians, who meet twice a month throughout the year. The conductor is Derek Carden, who travels from London especially to rehearse and conduct the orchestra; the leader is professional violinist and teacher, Peter Fields, who has played in many of the great English orchestras.

The Hastings Sinfonia  has built a reputation for playing popular melodic classical music –  most pieces are fairly short and the very varied programme includes some well-known opera highlights. It is ideal for people new to classical music as well as serious music lovers. Once again they have very impressive soloists, who offer further diversity to an already well-loved programme.

Local pianist Howard Southern, who studied piano at RCM London and was a semi-finalist at the 2002 Paris Concours des Grands Amateurs, will be a revelation as he joins the orchestra for the first time (unless you were fortunate enough to catch his recital last August at the Hastings Museum!). Thomasin Trezise, a professional soprano who is currently performing with Glyndebourne, has charmed us all at Composers’ Festival concerts and the Sinfonia’s Fish Festival performance. The ubiquitous tenor Gary Marriot has played many leading opera roles and is already a local favourite from his numerous appearances in 1066 Country.


The concert will include many well-known orchestral works such as Mars from the Planet Suite by Gustav Holst, the first movement of the Second Piano Concerto by
Rachmaninov,  the Radetsky March by Johann Strauss, the first movement of the Unfinished Symphony by Franz Schubert, Waltz Of The Flowers from the Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky and Hungarian Dance No 5 in G Minor by Johannes Brahms (the Elder). The orchestra also plays Chanson de Matin by Edward Elgar – “…music at its most moving – as if an angel came down from Heaven – overwhelmingly beautiful! Beautiful, evocative & understated…English music at its best. Elgar is England – England is Elgar,” writes a YouTube commentator.

Gary Marriott tenor

Gary Marriott tenor


Hastings Sinfonia concerts always include popular operatic works, this time wonderfully performed by Gary and Thomasin: Rosina’s Aria (Una voce poco fa) from Il Barbiere di Siviglia by Gioachino Rossini; (soprano: Thomasin Trezise), the Brindisi from Act One of La Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi (soprano: Thomasin Trezise, tenor: Gary Marriott), the Waltz Duet from The Merry Widow by Franz Léhar (soprano: Thomasin Trezise, tenor: Gary Marriott).

Living composers

The orchestra embraces living composers and this time on the programme is Gabriel’s Oboe by Ennio Morricone (oboe: Gail Taylor), a work made popular in the film The Mission that demonstrates the oboe as producing arguably the most clean, pure, beautiful tone of any instrument. Ennio Morricone’s genius creates atmosphere and haunting music and it’s amazing the sort of emotions this music can make you feel. You can gain so much inspiration from this music. Listen…and let your imagination run wild! The concert also includes Lullaby For A Clown by Polo Piatti (cello: Jonathan Bruce).

Lesser known composers

Gary Marriott sings two Neapolitan songs popularised universally by Elvis Presley: O Sole Mio ( which became It’s Now Or Never) by Eduardo di Capua and Torna a Surriento (Surrender) by Ernesto de Curtis. Few would be able to name the composers but the songs had a huge impact all over the world.

Another work by a little known composer is Hearts And Flowers by Theodore-Moses Tobani, a German-born American concert violinist and prolific composer who died in 1933. Using a tune from Wintermärchen, written by the Hungarian composer Alphons Czibulka in 1891, Tobani wrote Hearts and Flowers in 1893. The music, often described as the “saddest piece of music ever written”, was used for dramatic effect as sad scene music in silent films.

The Hastings Sinfonia prides itself on being a friendly, inclusive orchestra, valuing all its members. New players are most welcome. The orchestra’s concert schedule in 2015 included two short interactive concerts in local primary schools along with a fun concert at the Old Town Fish Festival, as well as the two main concerts at St John the Evangelistin St Leonards-on-Sea. Please come and support live music and your local orchestra.

Hastings Sinfonia Winter Concert: Saturday 30 January, 7.30pm at St John the Evangelist Church, Brittany Road, St Leonards TN38 0RD. Only £9 in advance or £10 on the door, children under 12 free. Tickets available online and from Phoenix and Plum, 13 Kings Road, St Leonards-on-Sea TN37 6EA. Ticket source booking line 0333 666 3366. Refreshments will be available during the interval.

For further information and full programme please visit website or follow them on Facebook.

Posted 16:29 Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016 In: Music & Sound


Please read our comment guidelines before posting on HOT

  1. Sandra Goodsell

    Fantastic article Chris, I am sure this really helped us achieve a ‘full house’
    Yes, you did see Christopher Beaumont plus two other principal percussionists!
    Was a wonderful concert to both play in and listen too.
    Next concert: Saturday 16th July, 2016 where once again we will be performing a concert of well known music with guest soloists joining us.

    Comment by Sandra Goodsell — Saturday, Feb 6, 2016 @ 14:32

  2. Alastair Thomson

    On behalf of the orchestra may I thank the wonderful enthusiastic audience who produced a full house, the soloists and other guest musicians who made the performances possible, the ever helpful St John the Evangelist team and the Hastings On line Times for this informative and well researched article.
    It says a lot about Hastings and the surrounding area that a relatively recently formed orchestra can stage a programme such as this, largely with local talent.
    Alastair Thomson (Acting Chair Hastings Sinfonia Orchestra Committee)

    Comment by Alastair Thomson — Monday, Feb 1, 2016 @ 10:53

  3. Chris Cormack

    What a wonderful concert! The Hastings Sinfonia has excelled itself at what looked like a full house. Was that Christopher Beaumont (played xylophone for us last year) I saw on percussion? Welcome back Chris and did you have tunes for us! Thank you Derek Carden for your wonderful enthusiasm for all the music you presented, which was certainly infectious, and thanks for the mention of Hastings Online Times. The soloists were all brilliant. Thanks everyone!

    Comment by Chris Cormack — Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 @ 01:27

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