Welcome from the City Wind Orchestra Committee
Welcome to our Spring Concert. This concert marks our first anniversary since regrouping after the pandemic and builds on our successful Winter Concert. Lucy Callen, our musical director, has been a major part of the success and we would all like to thank her for her dedication to the orchestra. Although she is unable to lead us tonight, but we are pleased to welcome Owen Ho who is our honorary conductor for this concert.
We would like to thank you, our audience, for attending tonight and continuing to support the City Wind Orchestra. If you know of anyone who would like to join or if you would like to play yourself, please do get in touch with us through our website. Our next term starts on Monday 17th April.
Now sit back and enjoy the music, tonight largely inspired by folk music.
Bach’s Fugue a la Gigue – Johann Sebastian Bach, transcribed by Gustav Holst
In 1927, the BBC asked Gustav Holst to write a work for the BBC Military Band. Holst happily agreed as he was always keen to write music for the widest selection of performers, and he had had great success with his First (1909) and Second (1911) suites for military band. In the event, he did not fulfill this commission until 1930, when he wrote the Prelude & Scherzo: Hammersmith (which we will be playing next). However, he replied to the request in December 1927 “if there is no immediate hurry, I would like to postpone writing the piece and first arrange one of Bach’s Organ Fugues for military band. I have had this at the back of my mind for many years”. Accordingly, his military band arrangement of the “Jig” Fugue in G, BWV 577 was completed and performed.
The fugue is thought to be an early work of Bach’s. However, it is by no means certain that it is Bach’s at all, being often listed only as attributed to Bach. Whatever the truth, it is an energetic piece and you can understand why Holst selected it. Holst himself added a note that “the title ‘Fugue a la Gigue’ describes the work perfectly, but there is no reason to think it was so named by Bach”.
Hammersmith – Prelude and Scherzo – Gustav Holst
Gustav Holst wrote Hammersmith in the summer of 1930 and, like many of his works, combines two disparate subjects in one piece. The first subject was inspired by the slow and ceaseless flow of the river Thames at Hammersmith and the second is a complete contrast, inspired by the hustle and bustle of the human life that lived there.
The piece was commissioned by the BBC in 1927. Although the work was written for the BBC Wireless Military Band they did not perform it. In 1931, whilst in the USA, Holst made a connection with the United States Marine Band and was due to conduct them performing Hammersmith at the American Bandmasters' Association Third Annual Convention. However, he fell ill and was unable to perform. The premiere went ahead without him and he died a year later without ever hearing the original in performance.
Although Holst had combined different musical ideas in his previous works, it is here that his fascination with this technique comes to fruition. In Hammersmith, the tension between the two subjects is never resolved. Holst's bitonality and rhythmical ambiguity underline the coexistence of disparate elements, each growing in strength in their own way, whilst remaining unchanged by the presence of the other.
Fantasy on a Japanese Folk Song – Samuel R Hazo
Hazo is an American composer who started composing at the age of 30 and had his first composition published aged 35. He has received numerous awards for his wind orchestra compositions. He has composed for the professional, university and public school levels in addition to writing original scores for television, radio and the stage. His compositions have been performed and recorded worldwide and he has been invited to guest conduct over 70 university ensembles and half of the All-State bands in the USA. Hazo retired from teaching in 2006.
The Fantasty on a Japanese Folk Song is based on the hauntingly beautiful traditional Sunayama folk song and this composition tells a story of the inner conflict of a Japanese girl who falls in love with an American. She is torn between a life with him in America and her longing for the culture of her childhood. From time to time she plays a music box given to her by her parents (represented by the Sunayama theme), bringing a flood of homeland memories. The composer weaves together a tapestry of sounds and moods as the piece builds to a fulfilling climax of musical drama and power.
Folk Song Suite (No. 1) – Ralph Vaughan Williams
The English Folk Song Suite is one of English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams' most famous works. It was first published for the military band and its premiere was given on 4 July 1923. The suite uses the melodies of nine English folk songs, six of which were drawn from the collection made by Vaughan Williams’ friend and colleague Cecil Sharp.
March: "Seventeen Come Sunday"
This movement opens with the principal melody – the folk song "Seventeen Come Sunday" played by the woodwind section. The melody is repeated, and the woodwind is joined by the brass. This is followed by "Pretty Caroline" as a quiet air. A third melody, "Dives and Lazarus" then enters in the lower instruments. The arrangement here is particularly interesting for having a 6/8 rhythm, played as a counterpoint by the upper woodwinds, against the straight 2/4 rhythm of the saxophones and brasses. This third theme is repeated, then leads straight back to the second theme. Finally, the first theme is repeated in a Da Capo al Coda.
Intermezzo: "My Bonny Boy"
"My Bonny Boy" opens with a solo for the oboe, doubled by solo cornet, on the tune of the folk song of the same name. Midway through the movement, a Poco Allegro begins on "Green Bushes", first sounded by a piccolo, E-flat clarinet, and oboe in a minor harmonic context, then repeated by the lower brass with major harmony. The first melody is played again in fragmented form before the close of the movement.
March: "Folk Songs from Somerset”
This movement is based on the melodies of four folk songs from the eponymous collection published in five volumes by Cecil Sharp with Charles Marson, based on fieldwork they had carried out in the county during the early 1900s. It opens with a light introduction of four measures before a jaunty major melody, "Blow Away the Morning Dew". A second melody, "High Germany" then takes over. As this second melody dies away, the original melody is heard once again with a tutti reprise. This leads into the trio, introducing a more delicate air called "Whistle, Daughter, Whistle". This melody continues until the entry of a robust major melody, “John Barleycorn”.
Sonata (1956) - Lubos Sluka, Arranged by Ron Daelemans – Craig Maxwell, solo bass clarinet
Lubos Sluka was admitted to Prague Conservatory where he completed his studies in three subjects – percussion, conducting and composition – graduating in 1959. Sluka's work is very complex and diverse, with more than 350 compositions. His music has never succumbed to any of the modern composition techniques or tendencies but draws lessons from their existence. It deliberately builds on the best traditions of some classical composers of the 20th century and of Czech composers, being particularly inspired by the aesthetics and diction of Leoš Janáček and by the deep and real sensibility of Josef Suk and Bohuslav Martinů
About the soloist – Craig Maxwell is a founder member of the City Wind Orchestra. Now a retired medical practitioner, he has played clarinet since his teens, taking up the bass clarinet around 20 years ago. Craig plays regularly in various orchestral and chamber groups and is a former leader of the longstanding Ionian Clarinet Choir in north London. He is an avid opera, concert and theatre-goer.
Lincolnshire Posy – Percy Aldridge Grainger
1. Dublin Bay (Sailor’s Song)
2. Harkstow Grange (The Miser and his Man: A Local Tragedy)
3. Rufford Park Poachers (Poaching Song)
4. The Brisk Young Sailor (Who returned to wed his true-love)
5. Lord Melbourne (War Song)
6. The Lost Lady Found (Dance Song)
Percy Grainger (8 July 1882 – 20 February 1961) was an Australian-born composer, arranger and pianist who lived in the United States from 1914 and became an American citizen in 1918. In the course of a long and innovative career he played a prominent role in the revival of interest in British folk music in the early years of the 20th century. Although much of his work was experimental and unusual, the piece with which he is most generally associated is his piano arrangement of the folk-dance tune "Country Gardens".
Lincolnshire Posy was commissioned in 1937 by the American Bandmasters Association. Considered by John Bird, the author of Grainger's biography, to be his masterpiece, the work has six movements, each adapted from folk songs that Grainger had collected on a 1905 – 1906 trip to Lincolnshire. The work debuted with three movements on 7th March 1937 performed by the Milwaukee Symphonic Band.
Unlike other composers who attempted to alter and modernize folk music, such as , Grainger wished to maintain the exact stylizing that he experienced from the originals. In the piece's program notes, Grainger wrote: "...Each number is intended to be a kind of musical portrait of the singer who sang its underlying melody—a musical portrait of the singer’s personality no less than of his habits of song—his regular or irregular interpretation of the rhythm, his preference for gaunt or ornately arabesqued delivery, his contrasts of legato and staccato, his tendency towards breadth or delicacy of tone."
Grainger dedicated his "bunch of Wildflowers" to "the old folksingers who sang so sweetly to me".
Lucy Callen (Musical Director) - Biography
Lucy is a London-based composer-conductor, who writes orchestral, chamber and choral works in addition to music for theatre, opera and dance. Her music has been performed at Vale of Glamorgan, Cheltenham, Aberystwyth and Dartington festivals, and often draws on early music and folksong. Lucy is a pianist and composer-in-residence at Middlesex Dance School. She is Musical Director of the Harrow Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, Contemporary Music For All (CoMA), Sussex Ensemble and the City Wind Orchestra. She is completing her Master's in Composition on a full scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music. Lucy joined the City Wind Orchestra as Musical Director in January 2022.
See for further details.
Owen Ho (Honorary Conductor) – Biography
Owen is a composer and conductor. His interest lies in the intersection between music and romantic aesthetic. This forms part of his current doctoral research at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. His music has been performed across the UK, Europe, the US, and Hong Kong.
See for more information.
About the Orchestra
The City Wind Orchestra is a community wind ensemble which rehearses and performs in the City of London. Since its formation in 2009, it has attracted players from all over London and the world, and from a range of backgrounds.
The City Wind Orchestra celebrated its tenth anniversary with a gala concert in December 2019 under its founding conductor, Shea Lolin. Unfortunately, with the imposition of the lockdown, it was no longer possible to rehearse or perform. Following a two year break, the City Wind Orchestra reformed in January 2022 with a new musical director, Lucy Callen, and a new rehearsal venue. The past year has been an opportunity for the orchestra to start afresh with a mix of new and old members who are enthusiastic to keep the original dream of playing original wind orchestra music alive.
The City Wind Orchestra is committed to performing original works for the medium. Since 2009 the cornerstone repertoire from America, Asia and Europe has been performed. With a rich heritage of wind music in the United Kingdom, many works have been performed with the ambition to continue to do so for forthcoming concerts. Other concerts have reflected particular places, people or musical periods. The City Wind Orchestra is equally committed to producing concerts which are engaging with the audiences that support them. Works by contemporary composers are often sharply contrasted with lighter musical styles.
List of members
Maria Thaller (Piccolo)
Sarah Halls (Alto Sax)
Taylor Wilkes (Alto Sax)
Martha Chapman (Tenor Sax)
Nora Wannagat (Baritone Sax)
Martin McHugh (Bass Trombone)
Ana Molinero Varela
We are still recruiting new members, especially:
If you, or someone you know are, interested in joining or finding out more, please contact us through our website or by email: