Hallam Sinfonia News

Latest news from the orchestra

Insights to our next concert: by George Morton

George (news)

We're pleased to be working with Sheffield-based George Morton again for our final concert of the year (22 June). We asked him for a few words about the programme – Arnold's Peterloo Overture, Strauss' Four Last Songs and Sibelius' First Symphony...

I’m thrilled to be returning to Hallam Sinfonia in June to conduct a programme of gorgeous music by Arnold, Strauss and Sibelius. We commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre with Malcolm Arnold’s extraordinary overture which pays tribute to, and celebrates the impact on humanity of, those who endured great suffering in Manchester at the time.

I’m thoroughly excited to work again with soprano Andrea Tweedale who is well-known to Sheffield audiences through her performances with Opera on Location, Rep Orchestra and most-recently as soloist in Beethoven 9 with Hallam Sinfonia. Andrea sings Richard Strauss’ surpassingly beautiful Four Last Songs, the composer’s final completed work which is both a musical and personal farewell.

The concert will finish with Jean Sibelius’ Symphony no.1, the piece that gave him his international break-through. The symphony is full of charming solos, big tunes and sizzling rhythms which will leave both audience and orchestra elated!

Thursday 11 April 19

George (news)

Limb – a new work for Viola and Orchestra by Jenny Jackson

Jenny Jackson

Hallam Sinfonia is delighted to be collaborating with Jenny Jackson, Sheffield-based composer and member of the Platform 4 composers’ collective. Jenny is also a viola player and a champion of this often overlooked instrument, which has led her to conceive of a large scale work for viola and orchestra, a welcome addition to the viola’s limited repertoire.

Entitled ‘Limb’, the work perceives the soloist as an extra ‘limb’, separate from but still connected to the orchestra, or ‘out on a limb’, isolated and exposed. The soloist starts out strong and determined but becomes more and more absorbed into the orchestral texture, until at the end re-emerging, ‘exposed, defeated and resigned’.

Jenny’s composing process usually starts with pencil line drawings, which in ‘Limb’s’ case highlighted the fact that the viola’s range lies in the middle of the orchestral texture. This presents challenges in terms of making sure the soloist is heard, which Jenny has addressed by asking players to use unconventional techniques such as string players bowing on the sides of their instruments. As well as keeping the dynamic levels down, this sets the scene for a soloist at odds with the situation.

We welcome as viola soloist Maria Do Vale Antunes, a young Portuguese player currently studying for a Masters at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire with Louise Lansdown. Maria is also working as a freelance musician and teacher and is passionate about chamber music. Her experience of orchestras, conductors and masterclasses across Europe and beyond and the enthusiasm with which she has approached ‘Limb’ make us look forward to meeting her!

Friday 22 February 19

Jenny Jackson