Royal Northern Sinfonia: Imogen Holst, Britten, Purcell & Elgar

The Maltings, Berwick

This concert is a celebration of Britain’s most iconic composers, and what better way to do that than a collection of the finest English string music. From the contrapuntal challenges of Purcell’s Fantasia’s, through the quaint pastorale of Imogen Holsts Phantasy Quartet and the captured sunshine of Elgars String Quartet in E minor, to Brittens tense and gritty Phantasy Quartet this is a concert not to miss!

Imogen Holsts, daughter of the more well-known Gustav, wrote her Phantasy Quartet in 1928 and it is a delightful reminder of English pastoral music, influenced by her father and her teachers including Ralph Vaughan Williams. Unfortunately, many of her works remained in manuscript throughout her life, but this moving quartet has remained popular.

Benjamin Britten adored the oboe, which is evident in his Phantasy Quartet. The dominant oboe and accompanying strings generate and tension and grittiness of sound that contrasts perfectly from the Holst. This quartet gave Britten his first international success and it is clear to see why!

Contrasting again is Purcells Fantasia No. 11 and No.8 with their more conservative, but distinctly English contrapuntal style. Originally written for viols, RNS bring this historic work to life, surrounded by more modern versions of the fantasia.

Elgars wife called the second movement of his String Quartet in E minorcaptured sunshine and we are inclined to agree! There can be no more perfect end to a concert of evocative and exciting English string music.

Royal Northern Sinfonia, is the UKs only full-time chamber orchestra. Founded in 1958, RNS has built a world-wide reputation for the North East through the quality of its music-making and the immediacy of the connections the musicians make with audiences.

Performers obvious enjoyment gives such outstanding performances even more appeal

York Press, Ryedale Festival performance

The entire orchestral were accomplished, evoking emotions I never knew I had

Northumberland Gazette, Nordic Summer Nights

The level of musical accomplishment merits higher praise

The Telegraph, Marriage of Figaro

Part of Royal Northern Sinfonia: Out and about across the region and beyond

As well as Royal Northern Sinfonia’s main series of concerts at Sage Gateshead, the orchestra regularly performs at external venues, both nationally and internationally. Here’s what is coming up in the next few months.

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