Article in The Mercury

BUILD A BRIDGE TO BRITTEN by Penny Thow

The Jan Sedivka Camerata Britten Centenary Concert, directed by Jeremy Williams at the Conservatorium Recital Hall tomorrow lunchtime, will feature works by the composer and his mentor Frank Bridge.

Williams said the concert would be the ideal warm-up for violinist/violist Tristan Selke, who has been awarded a full scholarship to play in the Britten Pears Orchestra as part of the annual Aldeburgh Festival in Britten’s home town of Suffolk next month.

“It is an international festival and it is wonderful that Tristan will be representing Australia,” Williams said. “It is quite an achievement and Tristan has worked very hard for it.” 

Tomorrow’s program begins with Waltz from Three Divertimenti, and Alla Marcia.

“Both are for string quartet and were written fairly early in Britten’s life,” Williams said. “There are examples of the many smaller string quartets he wrote earlier on, in the tradition of Frank Bridge. Waltz is lyrical and slightly humorous, and Alla Marcia has a relentless bass line and a slightly satirical feel.”

The concert also features Suite for String Orchestra by Bridge.

“His music went out of fashion, but it is coming back in again now,” Williams said. “It is extremely well-crafted and well-written for strings. Like Britten, Bridge played the viola and it has some wonderful viola solos.”

The Concert will conclude with Britten’s Simple Symphony Opus 4,

“It was written between 1933 and 1934 and uses themes he took from his earlier piano pieces,” Williams said. “The First movement, Boisterous Bourree, has a Neo Classical feel similar to that of the Bridge. There is not a single bowed note in the second movement, Playful Pizzicato, and playful is the word. Sentimental Sarabande is a lush Baroque pastiche, and the last movement is Frolicsome Finale. It is a great way to finish a lunchtime concert.”

The Britten Centenary Concert is at the Conservatorium Recital Hall, Sandy Bay Rd, at 1.10pm tomorrow and at the Kettering Community Hall at 3pm on May 5. Tickets for both concerts are $10

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