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Holly Mathieson

Holly Mathieson

7.30pm, Saturday 04 March 2017
St John's Smith Square

Conductor: Holly Mathieson

Overture: Coriolan
Brett Dean
Symphony in F sharp

Kensington Symphony Orchestra is delighted to be joined by guest conductor Holly Mathieson for a typically ambitious and unusual programme of music at St John’s Smith Square.

Korngold’s opulent, full-blooded Symphony in F sharp boasts both glittering orchestration and an abundance of generous melody. Completed in 1952, it is the only symphony by the Austrian-born composer, who wrote Oscar-winning scores for Hollywood films after fleeing the Nazi regime. The work incorporates a theme originally written for the 1939 film The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, and the symphony stands as a memorial to the late US president Franklin D. Roosevelt, who died in 1945.

The programme begins with Beethoven’s taut and intense Coriolan Overture, followed by a recent work by the award-winning Australian composer Brett Dean. Testament (2008), based on Dean’s 2002 work for 12 violas, takes its inspiration from the Heiligenstadt Testament, a letter written by a despairing Beethoven to his brothers after he learned that the deterioration in his hearing could not be reversed. Numerous innovative effects convey the composer’s state of mind; for example, the strings use both rosined and rosinless bows, the latter (generously provided by Thwaites of Watford) imitating the feverish sound of Beethoven’s quill.