Overture Le Carnaval romain, Op. 9
Conducted by Assistant Conductor Sophie Carville
Symphony No. 3 in C, Op. 57
Interval – 20 mins
Refreshments are available downstairs in the crypt
Symphony No. 3 in F, Op. 90
Please note: unauthorised recording of this performance is not permitted.
Harmony Sinfonia Story
Formed in 2009, Harmony Sinfonia is a vibrant symphony orchestra performing at least three concerts a year and promoting classical music to audiences in SE London. The orchestra offers a performance opportunity for high-level and passionate players. Harmony Sinfonia also works with the local community by maintaining an excellent outreach programme, funded by the Mayor’s Fund and Kickstarter, for local children to experience orchestral instruments in their school environments.
Meet The Team
Musical Director & Conductor
Mark Prescott was born in Madrid but brought up in Edinburgh where he studied piano, cello and conducting. Mark won a scholarship to Royal Holloway where he conducted a number of student ensembles and upon graduating was appointed professional conductor of the Royal Holloway Chamber Orchestra. A further scholarship allowed him to continue his conducting studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Christopher Seaman, Mark Elder and Colin Davis.
Mark has conducted a range of professional and amateur orchestras and ensembles in the UK and Europe. Highlights have included Bartok Concerto for Orchestra with the BBC Philharmonic, Beethoven 7 with Cambridge University Chamber Orchestra, and Holst with the City of London Sinfonia in St Pauls Cathedral. In London, he also conducts The London Lawyers’ Orchestra, South London String Orchestra and the Highbury Players with recent concerts having included Strauss Metamorphosen, Milhaud Creation du Monde, Dvorak 7 and Stravinsky Ragtime.
Sophie studied Music at the University of Sheffield where she somehow managed never to touch a baton. Having taken up conducting in 2013, she has since worked with concert bands, choirs and orchestras, expanding her knowledge and experience wherever the opportunity presents itself. She joined Harmony Sinfonia as Assistant Conductor in 2018.
In 2016 Sophie became joint-MD of Ripley Symphony Orchestra, based in Surrey. RSO meets three times a year for epic play days, and Sophie enjoys spending hours on IMSLP finding lesser known music to programme.
Otherwise a flautist, Sophie is also a member of City of London Symphonic Winds. This will sadly be her last concert with Harmony Sinfonia.
Daniel is an Israeli American violinist. He is a freelance orchestral violinist, chamber musician and a sought-after teacher. He has performed in major venues such as Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, Huberman Hall and more. He has played in top orchestras in the UK and Israel such as BBC Concert Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, London Philharmonic, Israel Symphony, Israeli Opera, Israel Chamber Orchestra, Israel NK orchestra and the Galilee Chamber Orchestra. He is also a founding member and violinist in the Waldstein Quartet that holds the Carne Trust chamber music junior fellowship at Trinity Laban.
Today he is a tutor for Junior Guildhall’s string training program at Brentwood. He also taught at leading conservatories such as the Jerusalem Conservatory “Hassadna”, Netanya Conservatory and the Polyphony Foundation. He is currently continuing his work on implementing his one of a kind teaching method and pedagogical system which has been transformative to students of all levels and will be published and distributed in the next few years.
Daniel has gained his BMus at The Aaron Copland School of Music under Burton Kaplan and his MMus from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance , where he received the Violet Wright scholarship and the Trinity College London scholarship, studying with Ofer Falk. He won the Vera Kanterovich Competition for solo Bach, Barbirolli competition for a classical string quartet and won second prize with the Waldstein Quartet in the Carne Trust Chamber Music Competition.
He has also participated in courses and masterclass under teachers such as Rodney Friend, Simon James, Stephen Shipps, Mateja Marinkovich and more and has also studied with Eyal Kless.
HECTOR BERLIOZ (1803–69) – Overture Le Carnaval romain, Op. 9
French composer Hector Berlioz wrote a number of overtures, many of which have become popular concert works. They include true overtures, intended to introduce operas, but also independent concert overtures that are in effect the first orchestral tone poems.
Composed in 1843 and first performed in Paris on 3 February 1844, Le Carnaval romain is a brilliant stand-alone overture intended for concert performance, made up of material and themes from Berlioz’s opera Benvenuto Cellini, including in the vivacious 6/8 second half music from the opera’s carnival scene – hence the overture’s title. It is scored for large orchestra, is in the key of A major, and features in the slow first half a prominent and famous solo for the cor anglais.
JEAN SIBELIUS (1833–97) – Symphony No. 3 in C, Op. 57
The Third Symphony, written in 1907, represents a turning point in Sibelius’s symphonic output. His first two symphonies are grandiose romantic and patriotic works. The Third, however, shows a distinct, almost classical desire to contain the largest amount of musical material in the fewest possible melodic figures, harmonies and durations. This musical economy is most apparent in the first movement, almost reminiscent of Beethoven in its clear and cleanly developed sections.
I – Allegro moderato
The symphony opens with a strident and rhythmic melody in the cellos and basses, after the announcement of which the horns and the remaining strings enter in turn. The C–F♯ tritone, which plays such an important role in both this and the next symphony, is clearly articulated and emphasised as early as the beginning of bar 15 by a rinforzando marking. A lilting, almost folk-like flute solo gives way to a horn call over brush-like strings in the first of three major climaxes in the first movement. After this rush of sound, the gentle serenity of the opening is recalled by the celli once again, but this time in a more vulnerable and sostenuto manner in the more remote key of B minor. From this point, the music gently winds down. Then, a succession of woodwind instruments recall the second cello melody over soft string scales, which repeatedly evoke the opening of the movement. The tension grows and finally explodes into the opening theme, underscored by timpani, the violins playing over a pulsating cushion of brass and woodwind chorales and offbeat pizzicatos in the cellos.
The flute theme is once again revived, and the second cello theme is restated by the entire orchestra; played in the string section, the timpani and woodwind provide rhythmic material while more brass chorales are sustained throughout the section. The music again winds down, but this time, before it is let go completely, a flute and horn chorale lead into more recollections of past themes, before the movement closes with two two-chord cadences in E minor (a chord of A minor followed by a chord of E minor), which, because there is no F in either chord, leave the F–F♯ dichotomy (set up by the C–F♯ tritone near the beginning of the work) unresolved; this dichotomy is then finally resolved (for the time being) by a single plagal cadence in C.
II – Andantino con moto, quasi allegretto
The opening of the second movement is a nocturne. The first section almost waltzes out of the pervading darkness, but, in a constrained manner, the music refuses to do so. Commentators disagree over exactly what form the structure of this movement represents; however, the four appearances of the theme with developmental episodes suggest a kind of rondo. After the extended introduction, a brief moment of lightness gives way to the string section taking over the theme, with comments from woodwinds and horns. The music is propelled to the end by perpetual cello pizzicatos, and then the second movement ends in several string pulses in which the tune is still almost recognisable.
III – Moderato
The last movement is really two movements compacted into a single finale. Sibelius described it as “the crystallisation of ideas from chaos”. The opening contains thematic fragments from previous material and of material yet to come. A hushed, tense scherzo breaks into a chorale (with a prominent C–F♯ tritone), which is repeated several times. The coda brings the chorale-type theme into greater and greater expanses, until the symphony concludes in a compendium of the chorale theme and a rush of string figures and woodwind scales. The cadence brings the piece to an almost abrupt halt with a single, arpeggiated C-major triad in the brass.
JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833–18) – Symphony No. 3 in F, Op. 90
After the heroism of the First Symphony and the pastoral flavours of the Second (and prefacing the inherent tragedy of the Fourth), the Third, written in 1883, inhabits a more uncertain world. Unlike its predecessors, it offers no triumphant conclusion. Instead, it asks questions that go largely unanswered. All four movements end quietly, unprecedented in symphonic literature at that time.
The Third is the most Schumann-esque of the Brahms symphonies, the one which mirrors Robert Schumann’s description of his own psychological make-up as both Florestan and Eusebius (‘impulsive and spontaneous’ and ‘inward and thoughtful’), the names he gave two emotional extremes in his personality. Twenty-seven years after Schumann’s death, Brahms pays affectionate homage to his one-time mentor and friend with a quotation from the opening movement of the ‘Rhenish’, Schumann’s own Third Symphony of 1850.
The Allegro con brio first movement of Brahms’s symphony is rich in rhythmic and lyrical invention, embracing a wide range of feeling from euphoria to melancholy. Brahms asks for a repeat of the brief exposition – without it, the listener misses the heightened sense of excitement before the development leaps in. After a turbulent ride, the music comes to rest with a gentle reminder of the opening motto theme.
The clarinet-led Andante second movement has its moments of serenity, although they do not conceal an undercurrent of regret. Near its end, however, the violins are given the chance to shine with an ecstatic crescendo of joy before the coda is allowed to dissolve into silence. Perhaps the tenderly nostalgic Poco allegretto that follows is a song of farewell to Schumann’s widow, Clara, the love that had once consumed the young Brahms for his friend and muse having never completely faded.
The finale begins confidently, but storm clouds soon gather. After many mood and rhythmic twists, and what feels like the prospect of a triumphant finish, it eventually comes full circle, ending with a soft echo of the symphony’s opening bars. As dusk falls, it is Brahms the ‘inward and thoughtful’ one who has the final word, at least for the time being. The Fourth Symphony would tell a different story.
Daniel Pukach (Leader)
Teresa Macedo Ferriera
Jo Breve Maccoli
We're currently recruiting for a French horn, trombone, violins, violas and double bass section. We have a waiting list for other sections. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to join.
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