WALKING IN THE AIR ...
ASSEMBLY HALL, WORTHING
Friday 31st January 2020 at 7.30pm
Tchaikovsky Swan Lake – Waltz
Delius Sleigh Ride
Sibelius Karelia Suite – Alla Marcia
Howard Blake Piano Concerto
Leroy Anderson Sleigh Ride
Rimsky-Korsakov Dance of the Tumblers (Snow Maiden)
Waldteufel Skaters Waltz
Howard Blake The Snowman (Concert version)
Young British pianist Julian Trevelyan makes his Worthing debut playing Howard Blake’s Piano Concerto, composed for Diana, Princess of Wales’ 30th birthday. The composer, who will be present at this WSO concert says:
"I got a call from the president of Philharmonia in 1990. He asked me if I would write a piano concerto for Princess Diana’s 30th birthday the next year. He promised to get an incredible pianist to play it, which I thought was wonderful because I could write anything I liked. But the nearer we got to the date I kept ringing and asking if they had found a pianist because it was a very complicated piece. One day he rang up and said ‘All the boys in the band say you could play it’. But I hadn’t played for years. I stopped everything else and spent three months learning the piano again. I played at the Festival Hall to a sold out audience to Princess Diana. Afterwards I had a glass of champagne with her and she was absolutely marvellous."
The graceful waltz from Act I of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake ballet it probably familiar to most us, perhaps because it has been used in many films over the years, notably the 1997 release of Anna Karenina. Delius’s Sleigh Ride was composed in 1887 whilst spending Christmas with Grieg in Norway. It obviously follows his exploits sleigh riding and he delighted in playing for Grieg at the time.
Sibelius’s Karelia Suite was written in 1893 for the Vilipuri Students’ Association and is one of his earliest compositions. The Alla Marcia is an exhilarating march of Finnish nationalistic character. Leroy Anderson started composing Sleigh Ride in a heat wave in July 1946 and finished it in February 1948. It has been used in many films and, in its lyrical version, included on many Christmas albums by a variety of artists.
The Snow Maiden is a Russian fairy tale character used as the basis of Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera of the same name. The Dance of the Tumblers is from Act III of the opera and this fiery piece depicts the unique talents and boundless energy of the Russian street performers.
Waldteufel’s Skaters Waltz was inspired by the Rink of Skaters at the Bois de Boulogne in Paris and the music reflects the grace, poise and skills of the skaters in this wonderful wintry setting.
Composer Howard Blake wrote the score and words to The Snowman. He says
"... In 1981 I met the producer John Coates ... He had this idea for an animated film – he had music but he didn’t think it was right. I said I could do him a demo in two days’ time. I knew where my song could go. I convinced him that it should be a film without dialogue – just music.
"... On a beautiful day in June 1982 I told myself I would write the words to my score. I bought some sandwiches and was going to sit in the park to write it. On the way there, I thought of the phrase ‘walking in the air’. I got to the park, rented a deckchair, and wrote all the words in one day. I’ve never changed a word of it."
From a 2012 interview with The Telegraph. Full interview here:
The professional orchestra of
.... is British pianist Julian Trevelyan was a finalist in the keyboard section of the 2016 BBC Young Musician of the Year at the age of 17 and is now taking the classical world by storm with his brilliant technique and presence.
Julian is now based in Paris, where he studies at the Ecole Normale, supported by a scholarship from the Or du Rhin Foundation. Piano is his principal instrument, but he also composes and plays the violin and enjoys chamber music. He was a chorister with St Albans Cathedral Choir and then sung as a tenor with Abbey Singers. Julian has been a member of Aldeburgh Young Musicians since 2012, where a number of his compositions have been performed. He also enjoys acting.
For more information about Julian, please visit his website
.... grew up in Brighton, at 18 winning a scholarship to The Royal Academy of Music where he studied piano and composition. Over the course of his composer, pianist and conductor he has created over 700 works. His most famous score is undoubtedly that composed for the animated film 'The Snowman'.
For more information about Howard Blake, please visit his website
Pictured above: From left to right - Composers Paul Lewis, Howard Blake, Cellist Leonard Elschenbroich, Worthing Mayor Michael Donin and Worthing Music Director John Gibbons at a WSO Concert in February 2016 - by Stephen Goodger