Summer Concert 2018

Sun, 1 Jul 2018

Summer Ascending

Conductor - Jonathan Hargeaves
Leader - Tina Bowles
Soloist: Gavin Davies

Concert supporting London's Air Ambulance Registered Charity No. 801013

The Concert Programme

  • Le Tombeau de Couperin - Maurice Ravel

    • Prélude

    • Forlane

    • Menuet

    • Rigaudon

  • Tzigane - Maurice Ravel - Soloist: Gavin Davies


  • The Lark Ascending - Ralph Vaughan Williams - Soloist: Gavin Davies

  • Appalachian Spring - Aaron Copland

The Concert Soloist

Gavin was born in North London and lives in Southgate. He studied the violin with Marta Eitler and Jaroslav Vanacek, and later with Natasha Boyarsky at the Royal College of Music, where he was awarded the Royal Orchestral Society Scholarship. 

He has a busy freelance career, and has worked with a variety of orchestras and ensembles including English National Opera, The London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the BBC Concert Orchestra, The Royal Ballet Sinfonia and English National Ballet.

In addition to chamber concerts and recitals, concerto performances have included works by Bruch, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Haydn, Bach, Vivaldi, Lalo, Tchaikovsky and Beethoven.


Programme Notes

Le Tombeau de Couperin - Maurice Ravel (1875 - 1937)

Tombeau, a musical term popular from the 17th century, means 'a piece written as a memorial'. It is thought the work was intended to evoke the musician François Couperin (1668 - 1773), though Ravel stated his intention was to pay homage to the baroque French style. Le Tombeau de Couperin was written in 1914 as a suite of piano pieces imitating the baroque dance suite, and it was first performed on the piano in 1919. Each movement was dedicated to a friend who died in the First World War.

Ravel the orchestrated four of the dances in 1919, and these are:
  1. Prelude - a gentle introduction
  2. Forlane - an Italian folk dance with triple-meter dotted rhythms
  3. Menuet - a social dance for couples in 3/4 time
  4. Rigaudon - a lively French dance, orginating as a robust Provençal peasant dance


Tzigane - Maurice Ravel (1875 - 1937)

'Tzigane, the Devil and Faust'
It was at a private performance in Holland Park of his 1922 Duo Sonata that Ravel was inspried to create 'Tzigane' for the virtuoso Jelly D'Arányi as a distraction from his stalling Violin Sonata. At the after-party, Ravel, thrilled by her (two-hour) gypsy improvisation, impulsively promised a concert-piece, confiding to his host 'its diaboolic difficulty will recreate the Hungary of my dreams'. But Tzigane's bravura pastiche only masked the composer's fear of the writer's block haunting him after the horrors of WW1, its demonic virtuosity alluding to Faust's Mephistophelian pact.

Ravels' 'Hungarian Dream' is a startlingly realistic recreation of a 'csárdás', opening with a violin improvisation ('lassú') on a motif of Ravel's Kodály-inspired Duo, swiftly chased by an allegro finale ('friss'). In this orchestral version Ravel fully explored the folk 'verbunkos' sound (army bands that recruited in taverns) featuring clarinet, hurdy-gurdy writing for violin, and harp imitating the cimbalom. The spectacular harp 'reveal' linking into the 'friss' again recalls Liszt (the closing harp cadenza of the Mephisto Waltz) and is an ironic relic of another rash promise made in 1923 - of a never-completed Ravel harp concerto.

Notes on Tzigane by Kevin Philip Miller


The Lark Ascending - Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872 - 1958)

An English composer, Vaughan Williams was strongly influenced by Tudor music and English folk song. He was among the first to travel into the countryside to collect folk songs and carols from singers, notating them for future generations.

This short work, called a Romance for Violin and Small Orchestra, was written in 1914. In its gentle lyricism, it seems to capture the tranquility of those languid summer days before the outbreak of war. The song of the lark radiates through the air as the bird itself hangs suspended somewhere overhead. The skylark is a small brown bird of open farmlands and heath; the male advertises himself through song, ascending to high altitude and making long song flights to attract a mate and warn off rivals.


Appalachian Spring - Aaron Copland (1900 - 1990)

Born in New York, the child of Russian emigrés, Copland was a composer , composition teacher, writer, and later a conductor.

Appalachian Spring began life in 1944 as a ballet for Martha Graham and her company, scored for just 13 instruments. In 1945 Copland re-scored it as a suite for symphony orchestra, calling the work simply, a 'Ballet for Martha', but she suggested the title 'Appalachian Spring', just before the premiere. The story takes the theme of Americans conquering a new land. Copland was inspired by the songs, dances and rituals f the American Shakers and the work ends with a series of variations on the Shaker tune 'Tis the Gift to be Simple.

The sections of the ballet are linked into a continuous whole.
  • Very slowly - the scene is set and the characters are introduced one by one, a young couple, an older neighbour, an itinerant preacher, and his flock
  • Fast - suddenly the action begins, evoking a religious celebration
  • Moderato - a duo for the bride and her intended
  • Quite Fast - the preacher and his flock, with suggestions of square dances and country fiddlers
  • Still faster - solo dance of the bride
  • Very slowly - transition back to the opening rural scene
  • Calm and Flowing - scenes of daily activity (Shaker tune)
  • Moderato. Coda - the young couple alone in their new home as night falls

Notes compiled by Mary Dentschuk 

The Concert Charity

London's Air Ambulance Registered Charity No. 801013, is the charity that delivers an advanced trauma team to critically injured people in London. The service provides pre-hospital medical care at the scene of the incident and serves the 10 million people who live, work and travel within the M25.

The team, which at all times includes an advanced trauma doctor and paramedic, perform advanced medical interventions, normally only found in the hospital Emergency Department, in time critical, life threatening situations. Missions commonly involve serious road traffic collisions, falls from height, industrial accidents, assaults, and injuries on the rail network.

Based at The Royal London Hospital and founded in 1989, the service operates 24/7, with the helicopter running in daylight hours and rapid response cars taking over at night and in adverse weather conditions.

The Concert Players

Conductor: Jonathan Hargreaves

First Violins

  • Tina Bowles (Leader)
  • Rachel Barbanel
  • Mary Dentschuk
  • Steve Dobson
  • Orpheus Leander
  • Gwyn Rhydderch
Second Violins
  • Helen Sanders-Hewitt (Principal)
  • Louisa Burden
  • Phil Granell
  • Andy MacDonald
  • Mary Ruddy
  • Gintare Zolubaite
  • Geoff Irwin (Principal)
  • Tom Boswell
  • Richard Clarembaux
  • Nigel Franklin
  • Caryl Mayes
  • John Nicholls
  • Sarah Parfitt
  • Josh Salter (Principal)
  • Sue Bird
  • Fiona Dunn
  • Hilary Evans
  • Helen Mabelis
  • David Robinson
Double Basses
  • Francois Moreau
  • Ian Braford
  • Joanna Bosanquet
  • Mo Talukder
  • Mo Talukder
  • Sumitra Lahiri
  • Adrian Hall
Cor Anglais
  • Adrian Hall
  • Lindsey Kaye
  • Sophie Goodwin
  • Rosalind Hedley-Miller
  • Louise Johnston
French Horns
  • Julie Rooke
  • Richard Slater
  • Mike Dockerty
  • Patrick Dodds
  • Rob Heath
  • Richard Miller
  • Ian Brookman
  • Alexander Rider
  • Stuart Delve
  • Sharon Moloney