Henley Symphony Orchestra
Conductor - Alexander Walker
Mezzo Soprano - Rebecca Afonwy-Jones
Brahms Academic Festival Overture
Elgar Sea Pictures
Brahms Symphony No. 2
HSO returns to the Hexagon for its annual spring concert. The sparkling mood of the opening Academic Festival Overture, with its potpourri of boisterous student drinking songs, was written by Brahms as a thank you to Breslau University after he was awarded an honorary doctorate.
Schumann predicted that Brahms would be the musical successor to Beethoven, and his Second Symphony surely fulfils this promise, with its rich depth of orchestral splendour. Written whilst on holiday in Austria in 1877, it is often described as the most melodious and sunny of Brahms’s four symphonies.
Elgar wrote Sea Pictures in 1899 immediately after the Enigma Variations and its shares Enigma’s mastery of orchestral tone-painting in five contrasting songs. The composition was encouraged by his wife, Alice, who wrote the second song.