Skip to: Site menu | Main content


Upcoming Concerts 

We'd love you to come and see and hear us! Concert evenings always offer a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere with wine available during the interlude.  Headline programmes of the upcoming concert(s) are below.  For details on how to purchase tickets, please contact the relevant venue.

We look forward to seeing you! 


 

Saturday 4 March 2017 at 7.30pm 

Roper Theatre, West Wing, Hayesfield School, Bath BA2 3LA

Borodin Overture ‘Prince Igor’
Dvorak Symphonic Variations
Tchaikovsky Symphonie No. 6 ‘Pathetique'
 

Dvorák was challenged by a friend to write a set of Symphonic Variations on a tune whose unusual phrase structure and melodic shape made this task virtually impossible.  However, he rose to this challenge magnificently – then put the work aside for ten years.  Borodin’s great opera Prince Igor was also put aside and left unfinished at his death. The tuneful and popular overture was reconstructed by his friend Glazunov.  
Tchaikovsky conducted the first performance of his 6th Symphony only nine days before his death, a fact which has contributed to the atmosphere of ‘voluptuous gloom’ which pervades the work.  The Russian significance of ‘Pathétique’ is ‘passionate suffering’ and Tchaikovsky called it “the best thing I ever composed or ever shall compose.”

Sunday 11 June 2017 at 3.00pm

Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

Family Concert  ‘Dance Around the World’
 
Borodin Polovtsian Dances
Grieg Norwegian Dances
Falla Three Cornered Hat, Suite No. 2
Arturo Marquez  Danzon No. 2
Rimsky Korsakov Capriccio Espagnol  

Bath Symphony Orchestra presents a concert for all the family of colourfully orchestrated symphonic dances from around the world.

Grieg’s Norwegian Dances were originally written for piano duet; colourful orchestration adds to their rhythmic vitality and charm.  The result of a collaboration with Diaghilev and Picasso, Falla’s ballet The Three Cornered Hat brings us the authentic sound of Spain.  There is an exotic, almost oriental flavour to Borodin’s ever popular Polovtsian Dances.  Rimsky-Korsakov never actually visited Spain – Capriccio Espagnol, his “brilliant composition for the orchestra” is based on a collection of Spanish folk melodies. Danzón No. 2 by Mexican composer Arturo Márquez has been made famous by Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra and is now regarded as an alternative national anthem in Mexico.  The sinuous and seductive opening melody builds to a wild finish.


 



Here's some of the stuff you've missed!

To get a flavour of the works presented by the Orchestra, perhaps read some of our press reviews, or take a look below at the details of past programmes... 

Saturday 12 November 2016 at 7.30pm

  *** Pre-concert talk at 6:30pm ***  

Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon 

Mendelssohn Overture ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’
Mark Boden Verona
Tchaikovsky Romeo & Juliet Fantasy Overture
Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique

We commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death with a programme inspired by his works.  The sparkling music written by the teenage Mendelssohn for A Midsummer Night’s Dream is much loved, as is Tchaikovsky’s dramatic overture Romeo and Juliet.  A new piece on the same theme is local composer Mark David Boden’s Verona, commissioned by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. It evokes a sense of the city’s crowded streets, the tensions between the rival clans and the ultimate fate of the lovers.  Berlioz wrote the Symphonie fantastique to express his obsessive and unrequited love for the Shakespearean actress Harriet Smithson – a recurring melody depicting the actress permeates every vivid and emotional movement.

Sunday 12 June 2016 at 7.30pm

Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

Mussorgsky Night on the Bare Mountain
Rachmaninov  Isle of the Dead
Bartók Concerto for Orchestra
                                                                                                   

Mussorgsky’s chaotic sketches were re-organised after his death by his friends, notably Rimsky Korsakov and we hear this version of the terrifying account of a Witches’ Sabbath on St John’s Eve – a pagan midsummer festival.  Rachmaninov’s tone poem ‘The Isle of the Dead’ was inspired by Arnold Böcklin’s picture of ghostly boatman Charon on the River Styx.  The music evokes the lapping of the waters of the deathly river and includes the composer’s favourite ‘Dies Irae’ chant.  Bartók’s much loved ‘Concerto for Orchestra’ was written after he moved to the USA.  He named it ‘concerto’ rather than ‘symphony’ because of the soloistic and virtuoso way in which the orchestral sections are treated.

Saturday 27 February 2016 at 7.30pm 

Roper Theatre, West Wing, Hayesfield School, Bath BA2 3LA

Sibelius Finlandia
Copland Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes
 
Wagner The  Flying Dutchman: Overture
Zimmer arr. Lavender & Longfield
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End Symphonic Highlights
Bernstein West Side Story Dances
  

‘Stage & Screen’

Leonard Bernstein’s 1957 smash hit musical ‘West Side Story’ translated the ‘Romeo and Juliet’ story to New York gangland and was released as a film in 1961.  The same year, he prepared a sequence of ‘symphonic’ dances from the show featuring jazz and latin styles such as Mambo and Cha-cha.  In Copland’s 1942 ballet ‘Rodeo’, the dances are based on traditional American folk tunes and cowboy songs.  Wagner’s opera ‘The Flying Dutchman’ retells the legend of the sea captain condemned to sail the oceans for eternity – a more light-hearted version of the same tale underlies the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ films.  Sibelius’ famous tone poem ‘Finlandia’ was originally conceived as a patriotic pageant, but has since featured in such unlikely films as ‘Die Hard 2’.

 

 

Wednesday 25 November 2015 at 7.30pm

Guildhall, Bath

Beethoven Overture ‘Fidelio’
Dvorák  Cello Concerto
                              Cello: Alice Neary
Sibelius Symphony No 5
 
Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio, concerned the struggle for liberty and justice.  He found the composition a struggle as well and it underwent many revisions over a space of ten years, including four different versions of the overture – we hear the final one.  We are delighted to welcome back Alice Neary to play Dvorak’s Cello Concerto, written during his time in New York.  It prompted Brahms to comment “If I had known that it was possible to compose such a concerto for the cello, I would have tried it myself.”  The Finnish Government commissioned Sibelius to write his 5th Symphony to celebrate his 50th birthday, which had been declared a national holiday.  That date was 8th December 1915, so we are just missing out on a centenary performance!

7 June 2015 - 07:30pm

Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

     Wagner Prelude & Liebestod from Tristan & Isolde
     Debussy L'apres midi d'un faune
     Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet – Excerpts
  
‘Love Lost and Found’
 
Our programme features two of the most famous love stories ever told.  In his scintillating ballet score for ‘Romeo & Juliet’, Prokofiev uses brilliant orchestral colours to bring all the characters to life.  The ‘Prelude’ and ‘Liebestod’ (‘Love Death’) form the opening and closing scenes of Wagner’s epic music drama ‘Tristan und Isolde’.  The rich orchestration and chromatic harmony give powerful expression to the unvoiced longing of the tragic lovers.  

 

28th February 2015 - 7.30pm

Roper Theatre, West Wing, Hayesfield School, Bath. BA2 3LA

     Dvorak Carnival Overture
     Suk Pohádka (Fairy Tale) Op. 16
     Brahms Symphony No 4 in E minor

The Carnival Overture is one of Dvorák’s most popular works.  Full of energy, excitement and colour, it depicts the scene as a traveller reaches a city at nightfall and festivities begin.  Josef Suk was not only Dvorak’s star pupil at the Prague Conservatoire, but also his son-in-law.  ‘Pohádka’ (‘Fairy Tale’) is taken from music written for a play based on a Czech folk tale and deserves to be better known for its lush orchestration, sparkling dances and sweeping romantic melodies. The programme ends with Brahms’ great final Symphony.  By turns powerful, delicate, lyrical and restless, it culminates in a huge Passacaglia, a gesture both archaic and forward-looking.

The Guildhall, Bath

Date: 19 November 2014 - 07:30pm

Details:
Beethoven Consecration of the House Overture
Mendelssohn Violin Concerto
Soloist: Nick Whiting
Weber Der Freischutz Overture
Nielsen Symphony No 1
 
Leonard Bernstein commented that ‘… many people are in for pleasant surprises as they get to know Nielsen … ‘ As we continue our exploration of the Danish composer’s works, we hope you will agree with Bernstein and find his Symphony No. 1 ‘irresistible’.  Much more familiar will be Mendelssohn’s enchanting and much loved Violin Concerto, with our soloist Nick Whiting. The programme also includes two overtures – Weber’s romantic and supernatural ‘Der Freischütz’ and Beethoven’s Handelian style ‘Consecration of the House’.

 

Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

Date: 6 June 2014 - 08:00pm

Details:

Mendelssohn – Hebrides Overture

Britten – Sea Interludes

Rimsky Korsakov - Scheherezade

The sea in all its moods inspires our programme, which opens with Mendelssohn’s much loved Hebrides Overture.  In Britten’s opera ‘Peter Grimes’ , the emotions of the tormented fisherman are mirrored in the four Sea Interludes, recalling the Suffolk coast at Aldeburgh where the composer lived.  In Rimsky Korsakov’s colourful and exotic tone poem, the sultry Scheherezade saves herself from death at the hands of the fearsome Sultan by telling him irresistible tales, conjuring up Sinbad the Sailor, Arabian princes and princesses, storms and shipwrecks.

 

Roper Theatre

Date: 1 March 2014 - 07:30pm

Details:

West Wing, Hayesfield School, Bath BA2 3LA

Strauss - Serenade for Winds

Wagner – Siegfried Idyll

Bruckner – Symphony No. 4

Wagner wrote the Siegfried Idyll as a birthday present for his wife Cosima and it was first performed by a small ensemble on the stairs of the couple’s villa in Switzerland.  It incorporates several musical elements from his opera ‘Siegfried’.  Austrian composer Bruckner was a great admirer of Wagner.  His 4th Symphony, ‘The Romantic’, typifies the spacious style and grand structures for which he is admired and features some particularly glorious moments for the French horn section.

 

Guildhall, Bath

Date: 20 November 2013 - 07:30pm

Details:

Nielson - Helios Overture

Schumann - Cello Concerto

      soloist Alice Neary

Dvorak - New World Symphony

Our new season starts with the rising of the sun – Danish composer Nielsen’s Helios Overture depicts his impressions of Mediterranean warmth and Ancient Classical Greek culture gained during a year spent living in a house on the edge of the Aegean Sea.  Soloist Alice Neary joins the orchestra for a performance of Schumann’s dreamy and romantic Cello Concerto, composed in a burst of creative energy during the composer’s happy first few months as Music Director in Düsseldorf.  The programme concludes with another work inspired by a composer’s travels in foreign lands – Dvo?ák’s gorgeous and ever-popular New World Symphony.

 

Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford upon Avon

Date: 7 June 2013 - 08:00pm

Details:
The final Russian symphony of our season is Shostakovich’s 5th. Following the threat of political criticism, Shostakovich manages to write music of great emotional honesty whilst at the same time appearing to satisfy the stylistic demands of the Soviet authorities – or is it really a parody of the Party line? Paul McKenzie is the soloist in Saint-Saëns’ popular yet unconventional Piano Concerto No. 4 and the concert opens with Charles Ives’ brief and enigmatic ‘Unanswered Question’. 
 
Ives - Unanswered Question
Shostakovich - Symphony No. 5
Piano Concerto - Saint-Saëns No. 4 in C minor 
soloist Paul McKenzie

 

 

The Forum, Bath

Date: 7 March 2013 - 07:30pm

Details:
Our ‘Russian Masters’ season continues with Rachmaninov’s colossal 2nd Symphony. Rachmaninov suffered severe depression after the disastrous premiere of his 1st Symphony, but his confidence was fully restored with the triumphant success of the 2nd; with its unending flow of beautiful melodies and luscious harmonies, it has remained one of the most popular of romantic symphonies ever since. It is preceded by Dvo?ák’s tone poem ‘The Golden Spinning Wheel’, in which the gruesome Czech folk story is completely belied by the enchanting music. 
 
Dvorak - Golden Spinning Wheel
Rachmaninov - Symphony No. 2

 

Guildhall, Bath

Date: 21 November 2012 - 07:30pm

Details:
We open our ‘Russian Masters’ season with Tchaikovsky’s mighty 5th Symphony. Glorious melodies and a delightful waltz are mingled with the gloomy ‘Fate’ motif which permeates the whole work,b ut is transformed in the triumphant Finale. Glazunov belonged to the next generation of Russian composers and was associated with the ‘Mighty Handful’ group ; John Mill joins the orchestra for his attractive and tuneful Violin Concerto - a bravura showpiece. The concert begins with Brahms’ Tragic Overture. 
 
Brahms - Tragic Overture
Glazunov - Violin Concerto op. 82
soloist John Mills
Tchaikovsky - Symphony No. 5

 

 

Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford upon Avon

Date: 17 June 2012 - 03:00pm

Details:

‘Mystery & Magic’

Dukas – Sorcerer’s Apprentice                                   

Saint Saens – Danse Macabre                                   

Rossini/Respighi – La Boutique Fantasque                                   

Williams arr. Brubaker – Harry Potter Suite                                   

Tchaikovsky – Swan Lake Suite

 

Join us for a programme full of magic and mystery!  We begin with Dukas’ Scherzo ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’, inevitably bringing to mind a cheeky Mickey Mouse.  In Saint Saens ‘Danse Macabre’, a discordant violin tune conjures up capering skeletons.  Then follows the ballet suite ‘The Enchanted Toyshop’ in which Respighi arranges tunes by Rossini to tell the love story of two can-can dolls who escape from a toyshop – Cossack dolls and dancing poodles also feature!  We bring to life music from recent hit movies, with suites from Harry Potter and Tchaikovsky’s ‘Swan Lake’.

 

The Forum, Bath

Date: 8 March 2012 - 07:30pm

Details:

Mussorgsky/Ravel – Pictures at an Exhibition

Elgar – Symphony No. 1
 
Mussorgsky was much affected by the sudden death of his friend, the artist Viktor Hartmann.  In ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ we follow the composer round the gallery and gaze at the strange and often bizarre pictures, including ‘The Hut on Fowls’ Legs’ and ‘The Great Gate of Kiev’.  We hear Ravel’s original and colourful orchestration of the virtuoso piano suite.  Elgar’s First Symphony is a work of great grandeur and nobility and typifies what has come to be recognised as Elgar’s quintessentially ‘English sound’.  Following recent performances of Walton’s 1st and Vaughan Williams’ 2nd, this continues the Orchestra’s series of English symphonies.

 

Guildhall, Bath

Date: 30 November 2011 - 07:30pm

Details:

Rossini – Overture: Barber of Seville                                   

Bruch - Violin Concerto No. 1 

soloist : Madeleine Mitchell                              

Sibelius - Symphony No. 2

We open our new season with Rossini’s sparkling and witty overture to his comic masterpiece ‘The Barber of Seville’.  Madeleine Mitchell  joins the orchestra for the ever-popular Violin Concerto No.1 by Max Bruch.  A succession of gorgeous melodies make this one of the ultimate Romantic concertos.   The concert concludes with the Symphony No.2 by Sibelius, in which the sunny, pastoral mood inspired by a visit to Italy contrasts with a dark, brooding evocation of the northern forests.

 

Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford upon Avon

Date: 10 June 2011 - 08:00pm

Details:

Khachaturian – Masquerade Suite                    

Stravinsky – The Firebird Suite                          

Tchaikovsky - Symphony No 2  (Little Russian)    

 

 Another iconic work of the twentieth century is the centrepiece of our Russian programme in the Wiltshire Music Centre. After Khachaturian’s sparkling Masquerade we perform Stravinsky’s suite from his ballet The Firebird. It is difficult today to comprehend the extraordinary impact of its first performance in 1910 by Diaghilev’s Ballet Russe

At the end of his life when he returned to Russia Stravinsky visited the Marinsky Theatre where, as a child, he had watched his father sing in opera and had seen the white haired Tchaikowsky in the foyer. It is Tchaikowsky’s popular Little Russian Symphony (No.2) which ends our programme.

 

The Forum, Bath

Date: 10 February 2011 - 07:30pm

Details:

Wagner – Tannhauser Overture                        

Sibelius – Karelia

Walton – Symphony No.1 in Bb min 

 

The programme for our Forum concert might almost be regarded as a study of national styles. It opens with the rousing Tannhäuser overture of Wagner, the Teutonic grandeur of which is contrasted with a newly emerging Finnish musical language in Sibelius’s Karelia Suite.

Last year, here in the Forum, we played Vaughan Williams’ London Symphony. This year we offer an opportunity to hear another work which proved a landmark for English music in the twentieth century – William Walton’s mighty First Symphony.

 

 

Guildhall, Bath

Date: 24 November 2010 - 07:30pm

Details:

Memorial Concert for Leonora Franks

Beethoven – Leonora Overture No.2                 

Brahms – Violin Concerto

         Soloist Nadia Myerscough                                

Dvorak – Symphony No.8 in G Op.88 

 

The concert opens with one of the less frequently performed overtures to the original version (Leonora) of Beethoven’s only opera (Fidelio). It is followed by one of the loveliest of all violin concertos (Brahms’) played by one of the orchestra’s favourite soloists – Nadia Myerscough. The programme is completed by Dvo?ák’s vivid evocation of his Czech homeland in what many regard as his finest symphony - the Eighth in G major.

 

 

Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

Date: 13 June 2010 - 07:30pm

Details:

Berlioz: Overture King Lear

Reinecke: Flute Concerto

Soloist : Sally Stocks

Grieg: Peer Gynt Suite 1, Op46

Stravinsky: Symphony in Three Movements

Berlioz’ King Lear overture which opens the concert typically combines extraordinary originality with high drama with brilliant orchestration. An unjustly neglected concerto, the lovely Reinecke flute concerto, follows. The second half of the concert begins with Grieg’s popular Peer Gynt music before the biting brilliance of Stravinsky’s Symphony in Three Movements.

 

The Forum, Bath

Date: 11 February 2010 - 07:30pm

Details:

Vaughan Williams: Overture The Wasps

Elgar: Enigma Variations

Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 2 (London)

Elgar’s much loved Enigma Variations, affectionately dedicated to “my friends pictured within” are complemented by Vaughan Williams’ equally affectionate musical portrait of London, its inhabitants and its irrepressible vitality. The concert opens with VW’s overture ‘The Wasps’

 

The Guildhall

Date: 25 November 2009 - 07:30pm

Details:

Mozart: Symphony No. 35 (Haffner)

Bottesini: Grand Duo for violin and double-bass

Soloists: David Heyes and Catherine Lord

Beethoven: Overture

The Consecration of the House Schumann: Symphony No. 3 (Rhenish) An intriguing concerto (Bottesini was one of the greatest double bassists of any age) is prefaced by Mozart’s sparkling and joyous Haffner symphony. The Beethoven overture is a late and remarkable work. The concert concludes with Schumann’s happiest and most exhilarating symphony.

 

Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

Date: 5 June 2009 - 07:30pm

Details:

Brahms: Academic Festival Overture

Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3

Borodin: Symphony No. 2

The gentle mocking of academia by Brahms in his sunniest and most relaxed mood is followed by one of the mightiest of all piano concertos – Rachmaninov's 3rd played by Costas Fotopoulos. It combines spellbinding virtuosity with romantic melodies enriched by Rachmaninov's very distinctive harmonic language. An exciting programme ends with the Slavonic brilliance of Borodin's 2nd Symphony. 

 

The Forum, Bath

Date: 12 March 2009 - 07:30pm

Details:
Beethoven : Symphony no.8
Maher : Symphony no. 1
 
 
 

"A symphony must be like the world, it must embrace everything" Mahler once remarked to Sibelius. His first symphony, The Titan, inspired by a novel of that name, begins with the stillness of a spring dawn and the gradual awakening of the world as the colossal energy of nature is released. It takes us via sounds of the countryside including peasant ländler and a macabre parody of a funeral march to the tragic Finale with a heroic conclusion.
 
This is contrasted with Beethoven's Eighth Symphony which, despite the despair at his growing deafness, reveals the composer in his sunniest and most ebullient mood.

 

 

Guildhall, Bath

Date: 19 November 2008 - 07:30pm

Details:
Weber: Overture Euryanthe
Elgar: Cello Concerto
Brahms: Symphony No. 1
 
Soloist : Elizabeth Anderson 

 

Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

Date: 6 June 2008 - 08:00pm

Details:
David Price conductor
Viv McLean piano
 
Liszt: Les Preludes
Dohnanyi: Variations on a Nursery Theme
Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra
 
Dohnanyi's Sextet, performed splendidly by Ensemble 360 last year, whets the appetite for his utterly delightful Variations on a Nursery Theme, as does Viv McLean's return as soloist. One of the great orchestral masterpieces of the 20th century, Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra, composed towards the end of his life when he was a refugee from Nazi occupied Europe, is full of glorious tunes and a feast of wonderful orchestral colours and effects. The Symphonic Poem by fellow Hungarian Liszt completes Bath Symphony Orchestra's appealing programme.