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Saturday, 11th March 2023
Alderley Edge Methodist Church
WEBER Overture: Oberon

DVORAK Czech Suite in D major, Op 39

SAINT-SAENS Symphony No 3 in C minor (‘Organ’)

Tickets: Adult  £15; Under 18: £2
Camille Saint-Saens was an extraordinary child. Born in 1835, the youngster could apparently read and write by the time he was two, starting picking out original tunes on the piano a year later. At the age of five he gave his first piano recital, making his formal debut as a concert pianist aged 11.

By the time he was 22, he was organist at the Madeleine, the most prestigious job in all France, and his popularity led to an invitation to Britain in 1871 to play for Queen Victoria. In 1886, the Philharmonic Society commissioned his Third Symphony, premiered in London at the St. James’s Hall on 19th May,

It is a remarkable symphony, one of the most technically advanced and sophisticated of the late 19th century, packed with innovations for the time, and without doubt the pinnacle of Saint-Saens’s achievements. He does away with the old structures and produces a work of two halves although you could say, with each half split in two, there is a nod to the old four movement convention. He introduces the piano as well as the organ into his symphony, producing an ingenious work for four hands alongside the orchestra. The organ’s introduction is especially subtle, and beautifully crafted, whilst the theme itself – based on the old Latin plainchant Dies Irae – is revealed in both major and minor keys throughout the symphony until fully and thrillingly performed by the organist in the closing finale.

Our concert opens with Weber’s spritely overture to Oberon, his final opera that was premiered at London’s Covent Garden in 1826. The three act opera, set in English with spoken dialogue, was described as “one of the most remarkable combinations of fantasy and technical skill in modern music.”

Dvořák composed his evocative Czech Suite in 1879. The work is made up of five movements, three of which are traditional Czech dances, and two are descriptive of the Bohemian countryside which inspired much of Dvořák's music.
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