World premiere performance at Binham Priory/Saffron Hall

Published: 2 May 2014 at 10:52

Anglia Ruskin Orchestra and Chorus to perform recently discovered Violin Concerto

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Anglia Ruskin Orchestra and Chorus, under the directorship of conductors Paul Jackson and Alan Rochford, will present two concerts this month featuring the world premiere of the recently discovered Violin Concerto by English composer Anthony Scott.

With generous support from Norfolk Concerts, Anglia Ruskin’s first visit to the new Saffron Hall in Saffron Walden on Saturday, 17 May includes the first performance of Scott’s work, with Amelie Xiaojun Huang, one of China’s outstanding young violinists, as soloist.  The following evening, 18 May, will see the work performed at Binham Priory in Norfolk.

Born in 1911, Anthony Scott was the only pupil of the composer Gerald Finzi, and was also composition assistant to Ralph Vaughan Williams.  Struck by Scott’s 1936 Sinfonietta for String Orchestra, Vaughan Williams described it as being like Bach’s “Grosse Fuge but with knobs on!”

His work was widely performed from 1936, including concerts with the Three Choirs Festival, the Halle Orchestra and the BBC, with support from such musical luminaries as Thomas Beecham and John Barbirolli.

However, following a fall-out with the British music establishment in 1982, Scott’s later music remained in manuscript form until his death in 2000. The Violin Concerto was recently discovered by Douglas Gowan, the Director of Norfolk Concerts, in a chest of manuscripts in the Scott family home, following a chance meeting with the composer’s son.

This highly detailed score abounds with long-flowing melodies and angst-ridden harmonies. According to Douglas Gowan, Scott’s music “expresses emotion on its sleeve and thus appeals to young musicians today”.

At Saffron Hall the concerto is presented together with Percy Grainger’s suite In a Nutshell, which provides a dazzling display of orchestral writing in the Australian composer’s inimitable style.  Beethoven’s sublime Mass in C major concludes the programme.

At the beautiful 11th-century Binham Priory, alongside Scott’s Violin Concerto and the Beethoven Mass in C major, the orchestra will play the delightful Suite for Violin, Piano and Small Orchestra by the American composer Lou Harrison, a work inspired by Indonesian gamelan music.

Tickets for the Saffron Hall concert cost £12 (£8 concessions) and are available from the Saffron Hall website or by calling the box office on 0845 548 7650.  Binham Priory tickets cost £8 (£7 concessions) and are available by calling Maureen Frost on 01328 830362.