A new season of classical music at Portsmouth Guildhall
Whether you are a seasoned concert goer or new to the world of classical music, join us on a voyage of discovery as we host a sensational concert season featuring a wide variety of music performed by internationally-renowned artists.
From Bach to Brahms and Mahler to Mozart, to Last Night of the Christmas Proms, a Smooth Classics concert to soothe stress away and Star Wars: The Definitive Concert – there is something for all to enjoy.
You, the audience, are as much a part of the performance as the musicians on stage! Take a look at the full season’s line-up below.
BOURNEMOUTH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA 2022/2023 SEASON
Tickets £7.75 – £27.75
Kids for just £1!
includes booking fee and levy
14’s and under to be accompanied by an 18+ adult
SMOOTH CLASSICS VIOLIN MAGIC
Thursday 17th November 2022, 7.30pm start
Grieg – Morning from Peer Gynt
Fauré – Pavane
Mendelssohn – Nocturne
Offenbach – Barcarolle
Bruch – Violin Concerto No.1 – Adagio
Korngold – Marietta’s Lied
Mendelssohn – Violin Concerto – Andante
Beethoven – Violin Romance No.2
JS Bach – Concerto for 2 Violins – Largo
Massenet – Meditation from Thaïs
Shostakovich – Romance from The Gadlfy
Coleridge Taylor – Legend
BSO Assistant Conductor
Benjamin Baker – violin
Charlotte Saluste-Bridoux – violin
There is simply nothing better than hearing a live symphony orchestra, so why not let the BSO soothe away the stresses and strains of everyday life in an evening featuring some of the most beautiful and relaxing symphonic music ever written. The magic of the violin is featured with performances of slow movements from some of the best violin concertos ever written by Mendelssohn, Bruch and JS Bach, as well as Beethoven’s charming Violin Romance No.2. There are also miniature masterpieces including Shostakovich’s Romance from The Gadfly, Marietta’s Lied by Korngold and Massenet’s Meditation from Thaïs. And there is a selection of soothing orchestral favourites too – Grieg’s Morning from Peer Gynt, Clair de Lune by Debussy, Offenbach’s Barcarolle, the Nocturne from Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Fauré’s Pavane amongst others.
LAST NIGHT OF THE CHRISTMAS PROMS
Wednesday 21st December 2022, 7.30pm start
The ultimate musical Christmas cracker, the BSO’s ever-popular festive concert is back with an overflowing bundle of treats, all wrapped up with a sprinkling of magic and sparkle.
ELGAR’S CELLO CONCERTO
Thursday 26th January 2023, 7.30pm start
Elgar – Cello Concerto
Bruckner – Symphony No.7
Mark Wigglesworth – conductor
Laura van der Heijden – cello
Despite living for another 14 years, the Cello Concerto was Elgar’s final major work. His beloved Alice was not in good health and died six months after the premiere in 1919, seemingly extinguishing his creative spark. The music is private and poignant, but it still remains a richly lyrical and noble work, with the solo cello in full focus with its bold statements and heart-rending themes. Since that time the work has grown in popular stature with its powerful yet understated evocation of the English countryside and psyche. Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony occupies a singularly important place in the composer’s output. It was with this piece that Bruckner finally achieved widespread recognition, and it has remained the most popular of his nine symphonies. The opening melody apparently came to him in a dream: a friend from Bruckner’s younger days played the theme on a viola, with the words “This will bring you success”. The heart of the work is the long and deeply felt adagio, composed as a memorial to Wagner who died whilst Bruckner was writing it.
STAR WARS – THE DEFINITIVE CONCERT
Thursday 16th March 2023, 7.30pm start
Pete Harrison – conductor
A magnificent celebration of John Williams’ timeless music from all of the Star Wars films, from the original Episode IV: A New Hope in 1977 to the most recent The Rise of Skywalker.
Thursday 30th March 2023, 7.30pm start
Weber – Der Freischütz Overture
Prokofiev – Violin Concerto No.2
Brahms – Symphony No.1
Marta Gardolińska – conductor
James Ehnes – violin
Der Freischütz is a convoluted tale of magic bullets, invisible spirits, and pacts with the devil. Today the opera is rarely staged, but its overture, full of dramatic contrasts of this tale of conflict between good and evil, remains one of Weber’s most popular orchestral works. Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto was his last work to be written before his return to Moscow from self-imposed exile. Full of lyrical beauty, it perfectly suited the Soviet desire that music should appeal to the masses. Prokofiev was also working on his ballet Romeo and Juliet at the time so it is not surprising that the concerto is just as tuneful and Romantic. Brahms’ First Symphony, although inspired by those of his hero Beethoven, broke new ground for symphonic form. It is a symbolic journey from darkness to light, the themes developed from a handful of motifs, all smelted together into a shining edifice, with nothing wasted. Two middle movements provide a relief between the power and weight of the opening and closing movements, and his orchestral sound also is unique: by turns dark and meltingly warm, often infused with a rueful quality expressing a strain of sadness in his personality never lightened by artistic success.
RACHMANINOV FIRST AND LAST
Thursday 20th April 2023, 7.30pm start
Rachmaninov – The Rock
Tchaikovsky – Piano Concerto No.1
Rachmaninov – Symphonic Dances
Gabor Kali – conductor
Marie-Ange Nguci – piano
The Rock was Rachmaninov’s first published orchestral work. Inspired by a Chekhov short story its three movements follow the sequence of Midday, Twilight, Midnight; an allegory for life’s journey which is echoed in what was to be his final work, the Symphonic Dances . The music suggests a new direction that he might have pursued had fate granted him more time. In contrast to the lush harmonies and sweeping melodic lines that characterise his earlier style, it offers a more modern sound of leaner textures, sharper harmonies and more concise motifs, creating a wondrous kaleidoscope of instrumental colours before finally exploding with visceral energy. Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto is an exuberant and passionate work filled with uninhibited virtuosity. The dramatic first movement, with its altogether exceptional opening, is forged from the menacing-sounding Ukrainian folk tune titled Song of the Blind and is filled with extensive technical passages made up of lush chord sequences and scales. The finale is also based on a folk tune – a combination of hymn-like solemnity and more technical wizardry.
PORTSMOUTH CHAMBER MUSIC 2022/2023 SEASON
includes booking fee and levy
14’s and under to be accompanied by an 18+ adult
Monday 21st November 2022, 7.30pm start
Welsh pianist Llŷr Williams is widely admired for his profound musical intelligence, and for the expressive and communicative nature of his interpretations.
He came to prominence in 2002 when he was selected for representation by the Young Concert Artists Trust, and won the Critics’ Prize at the Edinburgh International Festival. His programme presents popular works by Mozart and Schumann, Rachmaninov’s final work for piano, and two show-stopping works by arguably the greatest pianist of all time, Franz Liszt.
MOZART – Fantasia in C minor, K. 475
SCHUMANN – Fantasy in C, Op. 17
RACHMANINOV – Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42
LISZT – Légende No. 1 ‘St François d’Assise: la prédication aux oiseaux’, S. 175/1
LISZT – Mephisto Waltz No. 1, S. 514
Monday 30th January 2023, 7.30pm start
Berwald is a rather unfamiliar name, but he is perhaps Sweden’s most famous composer. Born in Stockholm in 1796, his compositions had rather mixed success during his lifetime, and it was only during the 20th century that his music started to receive the acclaim it deserves.
This Septet is a relatively early work from 1828 and uses the same instrumentation as Beethoven’s far more famous work. Mozart’s ever-popular clarinet quintet needs no introduction.
Benjamin Nabarro & Claudia Ajmone-Marsan violins, Rachel Roberts viola, Gemma Rosefield cello, Laurène Durantel double bass, Robert Plane clarinet, Amy Harman bassoon, Naomi Atherton horn
BERWALD – Septet in B-flat
MOZART – Clarinet Quintet in A, K. 581
BEETHOVEN – Septet in E-flat, Op. 20
Monday 20th March 2023, 7.30pm start
We were due to host the Romanian-based Arcadia Quartet in March 2021 before the continuing disruption caused by the pandemic intervened, and so we will finally get to hear them exactly two years later.
They won the Wigmore Hall competition in 2012, and then five years later produced a remarkable set of recordings of the Bartók quartets which led to their invitation to Portsmouth. A more recent recording project is the complete cycle of 17 quartets by Mieczysław Weinberg, a close friend of Shostakovich who deserves to be far better known.
HAYDN – Quartet in B-flat, Op. 33 No. 4
WEINBERG – String Quartet No. 6, Op. 35
BEETHOVEN – Quartet in F, Op. 59 No. 1
LEONORE PIANO TRIO
Monday 17th April 2023, 7.30pm start
The Leonore Trio was formed ten years ago and rapidly established itself as one of the pre-eminent piano trios in the world.
They are highly committed to new music, and this piece by Huw Watkins will receive its world premiere in the autumn of 2022. Haydn’s trio in the unusual key of F-sharp minor is a wonderful late work. Mendelssohn’s first published trio is arguably his finest chamber work, symphonic in nature in four beautifully worked-out movements.
HAYDN – Piano Trio in F-sharp minor, Hob. XV/26
WATKINS – Piano Trio No. 2
MENDELSSOHN – Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 49
Monday 22nd May 2023, 7.30pm start
The Esme played once before in Portsmouth, in October 2019, after winning the Wigmore Hall competition the previous year.
Originally from South Korea, they are based in Germany and have already established themselves as one of the most exciting quartets in the world. Korngold is now best known for his Hollywood film scores, but as a young man he was warmly praised by figures such as Mahler and Strauss. By 1935, however, when this second quartet was composed, ‘romantic’ music had fallen out of fashion and he struggled to be taken seriously by the musical establishment.
HAYDN – Quartet in E-flat, Op. 33 No. 2 The Joke
KORNGOLD – String Quartet No. 2 in E-flat, Op. 26