Harpenden concert features dance music with a dash of genius

Harpenden concert features dance music with a dash of genius Music spanning three eras of composition – baroque, classical and romantic – will feature when St Albans Symphony Orchestra performs in Harpenden on Saturday April 24th (7.30pm Methodist Church, High Street). Johann Sebastian Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 2 for strings, continuo and solo flute has enchanted audiences for more than 250 years with eight dance-based movements whose charm is matched by musical brilliance. Hattie Webster, the orchestra’s principal flautist, will be the soloist in the work whose playful concluding badinerie has become celebrated as a showpiece for the instrument. In addition to performing with SASO, Hattie is a member of the ensemble London Flutes and appeared most recently as a soloist at St Martin in the Fields in London with the Locrian Ensemble. Moving ahead to the middle of the 19th century, the orchestra under its conductor James Ross will perform the tender and tuneful Serenade No 2 by Johannes Brahms. Like Bach more than a century earlier, Brahms brought his own touch of genius to traditional dance forms like the minuet. But the most unusual aspect of the work for anyone hearing it for the first time is that its five contrasted movements are scored for horns, woodwind and lower strings, without violins. The violin section will return to full employment in the final work, the Symphony No 25 by Michael Haydn. Although overshadowed by Joseph, his famous older brother, Michael Haydn was an accomplished and prolific composer. In death, he had the further distinction of having his 25th symphony catalogued as the 37th symphony of Mozart – a mistake that was not uncovered until 1907. Mozart did, however, contribute an impressive slow introduction that leads to a work whose good cheer is briefly interrupted by a stormy minor-key passage in the slow movement. Tickets, price £12 (£1 accompanied children, £5 students) are available from the SASO Ticket Secretary (01727 857422) or on the door. For further information contact: David Utting (SASO Press Officer) 01727 762855 / 07930 31379