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City of Carlisle Orchestra performs work sixteen years in the making

Leon Reimer, conductor and musical director

The city’s orchestra presents a programme of music by Russian and Czech composers at its next concert on Saturday 7th December.

Smetana’s The Bartered Bride Overture opens the performance, a work that gave operatic voice to a spirit of Czech nationalism that was breaking forth after centuries of national oppression and foreign domination. With even their language banned in schools, to be replaced with German, Czech would regain “cultured respectability” only as a result of the nationalistic movement in which Smetana so centrally participated.

Second in the programme is Balakirev’s Overture on Three Russian Themes. As the Russian empire was expanding throughout the 19th century, concerted efforts were made to create a binding national identity with Russian music at the centre of this shift. As the nation moved from being very western dominated to forming its own identity, composers made use of the wealth of traditional folk music in their output and this overture is a strong example of the genre.

Closing the first half, the audience will be treated to the familiar melodies of Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor, a work which took sixteen years to compose and was left unfinished at the composer’s death. It was completed and orchestrated by Borodin’s close friends Glazunov and Rimsky-Korsakov.

Completing the programme for the winter concert is Antonin Dvorak’s Sixth Symphony. The orchestra’s musical director and conductor, Leon Reimer says of the symphony:

“When his Symphony No. 6 was composed in 1880, Dvorak was a relatively recent acquaintance to most music lovers. Nonetheless, he had been busy composing even when nobody was listening! His five previous symphonies were essential workshops in the development of his personal style, forums in which he tried his hand at compositional techniques that had worked for others while injecting something of his own into the mix. His third symphony, for example, was an adept exercise in Wagnerism, but proved to merely be a flirtation. His sixth is just as overtly an homage to his true mentor and friend, Johannes Brahms, and especially an emulation of Brahms’s Second Symphony.”

Once again, the City of Carlisle Orchestra will provide an opportunity to hear a symphony orchestra on local turf. The concert is at St John’s Church, London Road, Carlisle and starts at 7.30pm. There is a pre-concert talk by Leon at 7.00pm.

Tickets: £8 in advance from orchestra members or Bookcase in Castle Street, £10 at the door, under 18s free. Concert programmes are once again generously sponsored by Laidlaw Auctioneers and Valuers.

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