Royal Wootton Bassett Orchestra Spring Concert – English Idyll

22 April 2023 at 7.30pm – Malmesbury Abbey

An English Idyll in Malmesbury Abbey

Royal Wootton Bassett Orchestra will present an English Idyll – a concert of English composers and the landscapes they evoke in the wonderful surroundings of Malmesbury Abbey on April 22.

Local violin soloist, Sara Stagg, will perform ‘The Lark Ascending’ by Vaughan Williams. Sara Stagg is Head of Strings at Marlborough College as well as being the leader of several local orchestras and lead violinist of the Bath Spa Quartet. She gives regular masterclasses to local orchestras and is guest leader of the Bristol Classical Players. She also regularly performs with Bristol Opera.

First performed in 1921, the lark is depicted by the solo violin and combines with the orchestra to depict green meadows, woods, brooks, dancing children – a pastoral scene. There are also echoes of English folk music.

The programme also includes Hubert Parry’s Symphony No 3 ‘The English’ which evokes the English countryside in sunshine and showers. Written in 1889 the symphony was the most performed work of any English composer until Elgar’s first symphony in 1908. Today Parry is best known for the hymn ‘Jerusalem’ sung by all members of the Women’s Institute and written by Parry in 1916 to ‘brace the spirit of the nation’ in the depths of the First World War.

Dorothy Carwithen’s ‘Suffolk Suite’ was written in 1964 and is inspired by her 1954 film score for the British Transport Film ‘East Anglian Holiday’. The Suite includes the tone poem ‘Orford Ness’ as well as the ‘Suffolk Morris’ with its lively dance rhythms and ‘Framlingham Castle’ which creates a picture of a majestic ruined castle dominating the town and surrounding countryside.

The concert begins with Coleridge Taylor’s ‘Petite Suite de Concert’. Composed in 1911 the suite has four contrasting movements with rich textures and memorable melodies.

We do hope you can join us for this wide ranging celebration of English music. Tickets cost £10 and are available from the orchestra’s website