Latest Concert Report

Saturday 9 March 2024: Hanger Farm Arts Centre
Celebrating International Women’s Day: Rediscovering Women Composers

The Solent Concert Orchestra recently provided a unique evening of musical entertainment to an almost full house at the Hanger Farm Arts Centre Totton, with the theme based on rediscovering women composers, under the baton of their musical director, Simon Wilkins. 

Solent Concert Orchestra: Rediscovering Women Composers, 9 March 2024

The concert opened with a rumbustuous overture, ‘No.2 in D Major’ by Emilie Mayer which premiered in 1850. This was followed by Augusta Holmès’ ‘La Nuit et L’Amour’ from ‘Ludus Pro Patria’ written in support of patriotism. The orchestra’s gentle interpretation made it easy to picture young men saying goodbye to their girlfriends as they went off to fight for their country.

Sian Leighton performs Alice Mary Smith’s ‘Andante for Clarinet and Orchestra in D Major’

Alice Mary Smith was the next composer to feature with soloist Sian Leighton playing her ‘Andante for Clarinet and Orchestra in D Major’ followed by Isabella Stocchetti performing Cécile Chaminade’s ‘Flute concerto in D Major’. Both performances were outstanding and received prolonged applause.

Isabella Stocchetti performs Cécile Chaminade’s ‘Flute concerto in D Major

 The second half opened with a delightful soothing melody written by Katherine Parker entitled ‘Down Longford Way’ named after the composer’s home town in Tasmania. It was later orchestrated by Percy Grainger under whom she studied.    

The next piece went back from the 20th century to the 11th century to Hildegard von Bingen’s ‘O Vis Aeternitatis’ cleverly transcribed for modern orchestra by musical director Simon Wilkins. The music evoked images of hooded monks chanting in cold and misty monasteries in medieval times.

The evening finished with another piece by Alice Mary Smith, namely, her ‘Symphony No. 1 in C Minor’. This challenging composition was particularly well played by the orchestra as they managed to achieve the contrasts convincingly between the various movements.

Once again, the concert was attended by the orchestra’s loyal patron Sir Julian Lewis MP.

The Solent Concert Orchestra will next be performing at Bramshaw Village Hall at 7.30pm on Saturday 15 June 2024 when the theme will be ‘Music from the Films’. Further details can be found on the orchestra’s website at       

Howard Moore, March 2024.