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UNIVERSITY WIND ORCHESTRA & SYMPHONIC WIND ENSEMBLE
Christopher Drake Piano Kieran O’Riordan Conductor Edward Gregson Concerto for Piano and Wind: “Homages” Jonathan Dove The Ringing Isle Malcolm Binney Emerald Breeze Gustav Holst Second Suite in F Guy Woolfenden Gallimaufry When George Frideric Handel moved to London, he was inspired to describe Britain as ‘the ringing isle’, as he heard bells ringing everywhere, from the deep tolling of the great bells in the church towers to the carillon sounds of handbells in the private houses he visited. The sound of people ‘ringing the changes’ is a peculiarly British sound of celebration, and it seems a good starting point for a concert celebrating some of the very best in British wind music. The most recent work in the programme, Jonathan Dove’s The Ringing Isle, weaves traditional change-ringing patterns into a visionary portrait of Britain as a magical island. The sound of bells is also appropriate in the case of Edward Gregson, whose 60th birthday year is celebrated with a performance of his towering Piano Concerto. Music undergraduate Christopher Drake features as soloist in this mercurial work, which blends 12th-century English plainchant with affectionate tributes to some of the musical giants of the last century, in particular Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff, Bartok and Poulenc. Old English music is also celebrated in Gustav Holst’s Second Suite in F, a classic of the wind repertoire, which is justly praised for its masterly settings of folk tunes. Last but by no means least, Guy Woolfenden’s majestic Gallimaufry, taken from his music for the Royal Shakespeare Company, is a wonderful evocation of the pomp, majesty, triumph and tragedy of Shakespeare’s Plantagenet plays.