June Concert

St Albans Symphony Orchestra’s Festival Concert promises to be a family affair on Saturday 23rd June when conductor Bjorn Bantock leads the performers in music composed 80 years ago by his great-grandfather, Sir Granville Bantock (7.30pm St Saviour’s Church, Sandpit Lane, St Albans).

Sir Granville was a leading figure in British music-making in the first half of the last century, whose tone poem Prometheus Unbound is familiar to brass band enthusiasts as a test-piece. However, the St Albans concert will perform a special orchestral version that the composer made after the first performances.

`Said Bjorn: “I’m really excited to be conducting Prometheus Unbound because it is one of his most exciting and atmospheric compositions: we go from brooding mystery to some really fantastic, spine-tingling climaxes.”

He also admitted that the plan to play the rarely-heard orchestration was nearly thrown off course. “I knew the score existed, but we only managed to locate it  a few weeks ago. Even then I’ve had to copy out and print all the orchestra parts. You can put that down to family loyalty!”

The Festival Concert also features the young St Albans soloist Lynn Carter performing the Second Piano Concerto by Shostakovich. Increasingly in demand as a soloist, Lynn is also building a national and international reputation as a chamber musician while working as a staff accompanist at the Royal Academy of Music and Head of Keyboard at Warwick School. She was selected for support during 2010-11 by the prestigious Park Lane Group Young Artist Programme.

The Shostakovich concerto is among his most light-hearted works. It, too, has a family theme, having been written in 1957 as a birthday present for the composer’s son, Maxim.

Twentieth century music is further represented in the programme by Pacific 231, a pulsating tribute  that the French composer and train enthusiast Honegger composed to a mighty steam locomotive. However, for its grand finale the concert turns back to the late 19th century and the Symphony No 4by Brahms. Arguably his masterpiece, the symphony packs a remarkable range of human emotion into a framework of classical music forms.

Tickets:  £14 and £10 (£1 under-18s, £5 students) from the SASO ticket secretary (01727 857422), via www.saso.org.uk, or on the door.