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A Beethoven Triple

Saturday 15 October, 7.30pm | Victoria Hall,  Sheffield

Richard Laing – Conductor

The Leonore Piano Trio – Soloists


Coriolan Overture

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Beethoven’s Coriolan overture was written for Heinrich Joseph von Collin’s eponymous play in 1804.


The main theme represents Coriolan’s resolve and war-like tendencies, for he is about to invade Rome, while the second, gentler melody represents the pleadings of his mother to desist.


Coriolan eventually gives in to tenderness, but since he can no longer turn back, having led an army of his former enemies to Rome's gates, he kills himself.

[Notes by Richard Laing]


We are extremely grateful for the generous support of ID Planning towards the cost of this evening's concert. 

Find out more about ID planning at


Triple Concerto

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

  1. Allegro

  2. Largo

  3. Rondo alla Polacca

Classical composers often experimented with multiple solo instruments in new concerti or sinfonia concertante, modelled on the Baroque idea of the concerto grosso, but the combination of piano, violin and cello was virtually unprecedented when Beethoven created this now shamefully neglected work.


The concerto was possibly written for Beethoven’s only regular composition pupil, sixteen-year-old Archduke Rudolph of Austria (brother of the Emperor), who was an enthusiastic composer and performer, and an ardent supporter of Beethoven, though whether he was enough of a pianist to tackle the piece himself is unknown.


The published score was dedicated to Prince Franz Joseph Maximilian von Lobkowitz, another wealthy benefactor and one who made his own private orchestra available to Beethoven.

The music of the Triple Concerto is not as forward-looking or as hard-hitting as many of the composer’s more well-known works, and is therefore sometimes frowned upon by the more serious of Beethoven scholars. Taking issue with them, the great scholar and writer on music Donald Tovey wrote:

If it were not by Beethoven, but by some mysterious composer who had written nothing else and who had the romantic good fortune to die before it came to performance, the very people who most blame Beethoven for writing below his full powers would be the first to acclaim it as the work of a still greater composer.

Beethoven suffers from his own genius. Because he created works of astonishing, revolutionary creativity, those pieces which fail to hurl music into the future are neglected by the cognoscenti and excluded from regular performance. The Triple Concerto is surely one of the most enjoyable concerti in the repertoire, and thoroughly deserving of frequent hearing.

[Notes by Richard Laing]

Triple Concerto

Symphony no.3 – 'Eroica'

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

  1. Allegro con brio

  2. Marcia funebre: Adagio assai

  3. Scherzo: Allegro vivace

  4. Finale: Allegro molto

In October 1802 Beethoven wrote a letter to his brothers Carl and Johann, which he never sent. The composer expressed the torment engendered by his deafness (by then extremely debilitating, if not profound) and admitted that he had considered suicide, and that his creative impulse alone had given him the determination to carry on.


This document has become known as the Heiligenstadt Testament, after the town where it was written, and was found amongst the composer’s papers when he died.


Within weeks or perhaps days of writing the Testament, Beethoven began sketching ideas for what would become his third symphony. Initially, sympathising greatly with the ideals of the French Revolution, he dedicated the huge and revolutionary work to Napoleon, but on learning that the French leader had declared himself emperor he tore up the title page and declared ‘So he is no more than a common mortal!


Now, too, he will tread underfoot all the rights of man, indulge only his ambition; now he will think himself superior to all men, and become a tyrant!’


The Eroica symphony marks a watershed not only in Beethoven’s oeuvre but also in the history of western music, for orchestral music of this scale and power was entirely unprecedented.


The symphony has now featured in funerals and memorial services for some of history’s greatest and most influential figures, including Mendelssohn, Toscanini and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.


Whether it be the attention-grabbing opening, the astonishing funeral march, or its almost manic ending, each bar of the Eroica has earned its place in the history of music.

[Notes by Richard Laing]

Richard Laing.jpeg

Richard Laing

Richard Laing is a conductor, violinist and writer of remarkable versatility. He is Principal Guest Conductor of Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra, Associate
Conductor of Chandos Symphony Orchestra, and Music Director of Leamington Chamber Orchestra, Nottingham Harmonic Choir, Leicester Bach Choir and the Somerset Chamber Choir. He began his career as Sinfonia Viva Conducting Scholar at Birmingham Conservatoire, where after nine months of study he was awarded his Masters Degree, a Postgraduate Diploma, and the Postgraduate Prize. Shortly thereafter he was appointed to the post of Associate Conductor with the virtuoso young ensemble Sinfonia Cymru. He now returns regularly to the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire as a competition adjudicator and external examiner in orchestral conducting.

As a Chorus Master Richard frequently undertakes choral preparation, off-stage conducting and pre-concert talks for Britain’s top orchestras. For the Hallé he has prepared Belshazzar’s Feast, Alexander Nevsky, The Music Makers, The Planets and Poulenc’s Gloria. For the BBC Symphony Orchestra he has prepared Carmina Burana. As a violinist Richard studied with Peter Shaffer at the University of Illinois and with Richard Ireland at the Royal Northern College of Music. He is now a core player with the Orchestra of the Swan, a guest principal with the English Symphony Orchestra, and a guest leader with orchestras in London and the Midlands.


While still an undergraduate, Richard’s work using recently declassified documents to illuminate John F. Kennedy’s policy in Vietnam won the Kaiser Award for American History. He has presented papers on subjects as diverse as apocalyptic cinema, M.C. Escher and reality TV at the International Conferences on Film and Literature at Florida State University, and on Wagner’s Ring cycle at the International Wagner Symposium at the University of Adelaide. His articles and reviews regularly appear in The Wagner Journal and Wagner News. During lockdown Richard was awarded the Open University’s Certificate in Astronomy and Planetary Science, achieving a
distinction in every examination. 



The Leonore Piano Trio


Formed in 2012, the Leonore Piano Trio brings together three internationally acclaimed artists whose piano trio performances as part of Ensemble 360 were met with such enthusiastic response that they decided to form a piano trio in its own right. The Trio has since given concerts both at home and in many other parts of the world, combining a comprehensive repertoire of works by the celebrated classical and romantic composers; an unrivalled exploration of lesser-known and forgotten pieces from the 19th century; exciting and innovative performances for young audiences and a range of contemporary and new works.

The members of the Leonore Trio are keen exponents of contemporary music and have performed works by distinguished composers including Harrison Birtwistle and Huw Watkins. They gave the first performance of Holkham Beach, a piece written for and dedicated to the Trio by Simon Rowland-Jones. Their recording of the complete piano trios by David Matthews, for Toccata Classics, was hailed by the composer as "definitive".

As part of their commitment to education and outreach, the trio commissioned a narrated work for young audiences from Rachel Leach, based on the book by Steven Isserlis Why Beethoven Threw the Stew. It has proved to be an entertaining introduction to the music of Beethoven and the power of chamber music for all ages. Highlights for 2022 include the release of a new recording for Hyperion of Trios by Bargiel, to tremendous critical acclaim, and the premier of a new Trio from Huw Watkins, jointly commissioned by Wigmore Hall, Music in the Round and the Presteigne Festival


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Hallam Sinfonia


Violin 1

Hannah Thompson-Smith (leader), Kate Fehler, Dyzelle Sutherland, John Cooper, Mary Dougherty, Alastair Wood, Paul Adam, Elizabeth Stephenson, Richard Allen

Violin 2

Richard Gilbert, Jack Czauderna, Mags Florence, Deborah Blewitt, Catherine Pugh, Matthew Cobbald, Helena Vassiliadis, Rachael Evans, Hannah Watson


Helen Mather, Charlotte Boig, Sue Adam, Barbara Chisholm, Laura French, Kiri Smith


Jeremy Dawson, Charlie Hardwick, Joy Paul, Sue Dumpleton, Matthew Moore , Benjamin Jackson, Dominic Smith, Nat Blakesley


Stuart Wilson, Tom Davies, John Goepel, David Shearn, Wendy Willis


Kathryn Hathaway, Tony Jones


Vicky Holmes, Helen Jenkinson


Karen Burland-Clark, Catherine Murray


Dawn Allenby, Chris Thorp


Rachel Wilkes, Rachel Melland,Frank Edenborough


Matthew Redfearn, Jocelyn Allsopp


Adam Harrod

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