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Fairy Tales – A passenger seats concert

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We are grateful to the Freshgate Trust Foundation for their support of tonight's concert.

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Next Concert:
Elemental Forces

Saturday 19 October, 7.30pm
High Storrs School, Sheffield

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Hansel and Gretel Overture

Engelbert Humperdinck (1854-1921)

Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel Overture is a captivating introduction to his beloved opera, based on the Brothers Grimm's fairy tale. Premiered in 1893, the overture sets the stage with its lush orchestration and memorable melodies, including the famous "Evening Prayer."

Humperdinck skilfully blends Wagnerian influences with folk-inspired tunes, creating a magical atmosphere that transports listeners to the enchanted forest. The overture’s rich harmonies and developing themes evoke both the innocence and the adventures of the titular siblings, promising a delightful and whimsical journey into the world of fairy tales.


The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Paul Dukas (1865-1935)

The Sorcerer's Apprentice is a vibrant and enchanting orchestral work that has captured the imagination of audiences since its premiere in 1897. Inspired by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s 1797 poem of the same name, the piece vividly portrays the tale of a young apprentice who, in his master's absence, attempts to use magic to do his chores, only to have his spell spiral out of control.


The music brings the story to life with its whimsical and dynamic orchestration. Dukas’ clever use of recurring motifs - notably on the bassoon - and dramatic crescendos encapsulates the apprentice's initial delight, growing panic, and eventual chaos as the bewitched broom multiplies and floods the room.

The piece demonstrates brilliant orchestration and imaginative storytelling, making it a staple in the orchestral repertoire., and it was famously brought to wider public attention through Disney's animated film Fantasia. The Sorcerer's Apprentice continues to enchant audiences with its playful yet cautionary narrative, reminding us all of the perils of overreaching one's abilities.


Cinderella Suite No. 1

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)

1. Introduction
2. Quarrel
3. Grandmother Fairy and Winter Fairy
4. Cinderella Goes to the Ball
5. Cinderella's Waltz
6. Midnight

Sergei Prokofiev's Cinderella Suite No. 1, Op. 107, is one of three orchestral suites extracted from his enchanting ballet Cinderella, composed between 1940 and 1944. The ballet itself is a blend of lyrical beauty and vibrant character portrayals, and the suites convey this in concert form, capturing the story's magic, romance, and humour through lyrical tenderness and masterful orchestration.

The six movements performed this evening begin with the Introduction, which immediately sets the fairy-tale atmosphere with its whimsical and lush scoring. The Quarrel follows in which we hear the bickering of Cinderella’s step-sisters depicted in harsh, angular string sounds. Grandmother Fairy and Winter Fairy evokes Cinderella’s transformation at the hands of her fairy godmother.

In Cinderella Goes to the Ball, the wonderful melodic lines convey her anticipation at what is to come, while the Waltz gives a particularly “Prokoviev” spin on this well-known dance form! The suite concludes with Midnight, in which we hear the clock strike 12 in the percussion section while the rest of the orchestra depicts the chaos that ensues.


The Imagined Forest

Grace Evangeline Mason (b. 1994)

The Imagined Forest is a mesmerizing contemporary work that invites listeners into a world of wonder and mystery. Composed in 2019, and premiered at the Proms in 2021, this evocative work draws inspiration from the magic and mystique of ancient woodland landscapes.

Mason employs a rich palette of orchestral colours to create an immersive experience. The music weaves through delicate, shimmering passages and lush, expansive harmonies, evoking the dappled light and whispering leaves of a hidden forest. Subtle changes in texture and dynamics mirror the forest’s own shifting moods and secretive depths, inviting the audience to explore its enchanting beauty and hidden secrets.

"The Imagined Forest" showcases Mason's innovative approach to composition, blending traditional orchestral techniques with contemporary sensibilities. Her ability to paint vivid auditory scenes has garnered acclaim, marking her as a rising star in the world of classical music. Read Mason’s own notes on the work.


Mother Goose Suite

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

1. Pavane of the Sleeping Beauty

2. Little Thumb

3. Laideronnette, Empress of the Pagodas

4. Conversation of the Beauty and the Beast

5. The Fairy Garden

Maurice Ravel's Mother Goose Suite is a charming orchestral work that transports listeners into the magical world of fairy tales, with its spin on some well-known stories. Originally composed as a piano duet for children in 1910, Ravel orchestrated the suite in 1911, imbuing it with rich textures and vivid colours. It displays Ravel’s mastery in orchestration, blending simplicity with sophistication, and capturing the essence of childhood wonder and imagination.

The suite comprises five movements, each depicting a beloved fairy tale. It begins with Pavane of the Sleeping Beauty, a gentle and delicate piece that evokes the grace and serenity of the sleeping princess. Little Thumb follows, where Ravel's imaginative orchestration captures the tiny hero's adventure with delicate, striking motifs representing the breadcrumbs and the forest.

In Laideronnette, Empress of the Pagodas, the exotic sounds and pentatonic scales create a fantastical atmosphere as the tiny empress bathes, surrounded by her pagoda-dwelling subjects. Conversation of the Beauty and the Beast offers a tender dialogue between the two characters, with the contrabassoon representing the Beast and the clarinet portraying Beauty, culminating in a magical transformation. The suite concludes with The Fairy Garden, a serene and radiant movement that brings the fairy tale world to a triumphant and enchanting close. 


Ellie Slorach


Ellie Slorach is a conductor based in Manchester. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of Kantos Chamber Choir and the Engagement Conductor for the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. 

In the 2023-24 season, Ellie makes her debut with the Royal Northern Sinfonia at The Glasshouse and with New Adventures’ production of Edward Scissorhands at Sadler’s Wells. She returns to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, BBC Singers, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Orchestra of Opera North and Manchester Camerata.

Specialising in concerts for schools and young people, Ellie has worked with orchestras including The Hallé and the Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège, where she was the Assistant Conductor to Gergely Madaras in 2021-22. She is often invited to work with youth and student orchestras and choirs, including having been Musical Director of the Hallé Youth Orchestra. 

Ellie regularly works on opera productions; she conducted Northern Opera Group’s production of Handel’s ‘Silla’ in 2022 and returns as Musical Director for their headline production of ‘Sherlock’ in 2024 at the Leeds Opera Festival. She was co-Musical Director for the Royal Opera House’s production of Lost & Found at St Pancras International station in 2022 and was the Assistant Conductor for Opera Holland Park’s Rigoletto in June 2023.

In 2015, Ellie founded Kantos Chamber Choir; this trailblazing vocal ensemble is at the cutting edge of choral singing in the UK. Kantos performs unique and innovative concerts, devised by Ellie, to sell-out audiences, in venues ranging from nightclubs to concert halls. Kantos has an artistic partnership with Manchester Camerata.

Ellie studied Conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music; she was awarded Associate Membership (ARNCM) in 2023. She previously studied Music at the University of Manchester.

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Hallam Sinfonia


Violin 1

Hannah Thompson-Smith (leader), John Cooper, Paul Adam, Liz Stephenson, Anton Nikolaev, Richard Gilbert, Catherine Pugh, Jennifer Gray-Hogg, Renee Timmers

Violin 2

Kate Fehler, Rachael Evans, Jack Czauderna, Deborah Blewitt , Florence Allwood, Helena Vassiliadis, Catherine Bowman, Hannah Watson


Helen Mather, Laura French, Kiri Smith, Charlotte Kenyon


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


Stuart Wilson, Cathy Bennett, John Goepel, Christie Harrison, Max Wilson


Judith Ennis, Tony Jones, Kath Hathaway

Oboes/Cor Anglais

Vicky Holmes, Carolyn Bean, Helen Jenkinson

Clarinet/Bass Clarinet

Karen Burland-Clark, Cath Murray, Becky Stroud


Amy Kershaw, Liz Versi , Emma Crooks


Rachel Wilkes, Rachel Melland, Frank Edenborough, Gill Hillier


Matthew Redfearn, Jocelyn Allsopp, Olivia Redfearn, Judith Sunderland


Andrew Knowles, Nick Hart, Richard Dixon


John Pullin


Adam Harrod, John Harrod, David Hartland, Dominic Ridler, Tom Davies


Alley York


Tom Owen

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