Love it or loathe it, the festive season has officially begun.
For some this means the start of a long period of frantic preparation; for others, it’s something to be willingly ignored. For us, it means only one thing: loading the candelabras back in the van, stocking up on antifreeze and looking forward to a crisp trip around Scotland for our much-loved December tour.
Taking place amidst flurries of glowing candles, and mostly at churches and cathedrals, the concerts are undeniably festive. However, they are also a brilliant alternative to the usual Christmas concert offerings – an evening of refuge from the stresses of the season, in the company of our exceptional string players.
This year’s programme, which matches the just-composed with the much-loved, is based on the theme of night and day. Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik needs little introduction, and we felt this would offer the perfect sparkling opening to a December concert. It’s followed by a world premiere of David Matthews’ new arrangement of two Chopin nocturnes for string orchestra – No. 37 No.2 in G major, and Op.55 No.1 in F minor, for those who know the repetoire.
Steve Martland’s Eternity’s Sunrise, which we commissioned in 2007, is an incredible musical evocation of a sunrise. With the whole ensemble playing in rhythmic unison, this is a fiery, propulsive piece guaranteed to warm up a cold winter’s night. To finish is an arrangement for string orchestra of Borodin’s inarguably beautiful String Quartet No.2, written as a love letter to his wife by the Russian chemist-cum-composer.