Thursday 13 September 2012

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This autumn's season at the Royal College of Music starts of with something of a stunner. On 26 September there are two pieces by Hans Gal, in a concert curated by Norbert Meyn and with soprano Patrizia Rosario. Gal was a distinguished composer in Germany in the 1930's who had to flee the Nazis. He ended up living in the Black Forest, where he wrote Nachtmusik for soprano, male choir, flute, cello and piano. Come seven years later, he had fled to the UK where he was interned as an enemy alien in a camp on the Isle of Wight. There he wrote the comic review What a life! I had exposure to some of Gal's fascinating and elegant music when I lived in Scotland, as he was the Hon. President of the Edinburgh Chamber Orchestra, the orchestra that I played in. In fact I played in his Serenade, Op 46 at a concert in the late 1970's, conducted by Miles Baster, where Hans Gal was present.

The RCM season continues with John Wilson directing the RCM Symphony Orchestra in Vaughan Williams's A London Symphony. A group of the RCM string professors get together to perform the Elgar Piano Quintet at lunchtime on 1 October. Later that month there is an enticing concert of vocal music by Jonathan Dove, featuring his 30 minute opera Seven Angels (9 October). And on 25 October there is the chance to experience very different works for trumpet and orchestra from Harrison Birtwistle, his Cortege, and Peter Maxwell Davies, his Trumpet Concerto. Plus new works by Jonathan Cole and William Dougherty.

There's an International Festival of Viols on 12/13 Novemeber, with recitals and masterclasses from Fretwork and Paolo Pandolfo. On 22 November, Salisbury Cathedral Choir under David Halls, give a concert of composers associated with the RCM (Dyson, Britten, William Lloyd Webber, RVW, Parry, Ireland and Howells), plus a new piece by the current RCM Head of Composition, William Mival.

27, 28, 30 November, 1 December sees the RCM's production of Monteverdi's L'Incoronazione di Poppea, directed by ETO's James Conway. In the middle of the run, on 29 November, the RCM Symphony Orchestra and Chorus perform Walton's Belshazzar's Feast; quite a combination.

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