Issue date: 30 November 2010
Saturday 4 December 2010 at 19:30
The University of the West of England's Symphony Orchestra and Singers will this year be celebrating the work of four Italian composers at its autumn concert in Bristol Cathedral. The choir of 130 voices and symphony orchestra will present a festival of four acclaimed Italian masterpieces on Saturday 4 December at 19:30.
The full flavour of Italy starts in the first half of the concert with Rossini's Overture to his famous comic opera The Barber of Seville. The piece combines several musical themes including those from the composer's previous works and is full of the drama and contrast that is expected in an operatic overture.
By complete contrast the second work to be performed is the meditative Adagio in G minor for Organ and Strings, a piece of music famously attributed to Albinoni. It is in fact thought to be based on a fragment of music found in a library in Germany by Italian musicologist and critic Remo Giazotto who attributed the music to Albinoni. It is both lyrical and haunting and despite only lasting eight minutes has been popularised by both film, television and advertising and will no doubt be recognised by all.
The first half ends with Respighi's Pines of Rome written in 1917 and divided into four movements that visualise different landscapes from the city of Rome. It is the middle piece in a trilogy of works by the composer and an exciting visual feast for the ears. Rossini's patriotic symphonic poem is an exciting conclusion to the first half of the evening as the audience are taken on an imaginative musical excursion around the outskirts of Italy's historic capital taking in the Villa Borghese, A Catacomb, Janiculum and the Appian Way.
The programme in the second half is entirely devoted to Puccini's Messa di Gloria, now considered a significant choral precursor to the composer's great operatic work to follow even though written, ironically, as a graduation exercise for his musical studies at the age of 21! Although he began his career as a church organist and choir master, he went on famously to write some unforgettable operatic scores and himself wrote, “the Almighty touched me with his little finger and said, “Write for the theatre, mind, only for the theatre!”
Joining the choir and orchestra for this performance are two outstanding soloists, both of whom are graduates of UWE and have been actively involved during their time at the University with the many vocal activities within the Centre for Performing Arts. George Watson, (baritone/bass) Animation 2007-10, was winner of the Centre's Award for Vocal Excellence in 2010 and was a soloist in many UWE productions and concerts including Handel's Dettingen Te Deum. Christopher Hann, (tenor) Music Systems Engineering 2001-2004, a music scholar, went on to complete postgraduate singing studies at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. His performances include those with the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, Scottish Opera and as an oratorio soloist.
Tickets for this dramatic evening are selling fast, but are still available either from the Colston Hall tel: 0117 922 3686 or via the UWE online ticket store
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