Sat 11th March 2023, 7:30pm
St Saviour’s Church
Conductor: Mark Biggins
Soloist: Veronika Shoot, piano
Humperdinck: Hansel and Gretel Overture
Ravel: Piano Concerto in G
Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique
Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, a “fairytale play”, was originally a labour of love. Humperdinck’s sister had written some verses based on the famous Grimm’s fairy tale and she asked her brother to set them to music for a Christmas party for her children. He then enlarged it to 16 songs with piano accompaniment and presented it to his fiancée as an engagement present. Following that, he began work orchestrating it, turning it into a fully fledged three-act opera.
Ravel said that his Piano Concerto in G was not aiming to be profound but to entertain, in the manner of Mozart and Saint-Saëns. Among its other influences are jazz and Basque folk music.
Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique is an important work from the early Romantic period. The American composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein described the symphony as the first musical expedition into psychedelia because of its hallucinatory and dream-like nature. Berlioz put a great deal of emotion into the piece, exploring the extremities of many ends of the emotional spectrum. He wanted people to understand his intentions behind it as they were the driving factor behind each movement and the story he attaches to the different parts of the piece.