Season highlights from Brighton Phil musicians

We asked some of our musicians which pieces they are most looking forward to playing this coming season at Brighton Dome – here are a selection of their responses:


Tchaikovsky 5: The first Tchaikovsky symphony I ever had the pleasure to hear. It was as a member of the Royal Manchester College of Music’s orchestra that the beautiful slow movement horn solo brought tears to my eyes – so embarrassing!” John Bradbury (Leader)


“Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony has always been one of my favourites but just over ten years ago it became even more special to me.   I had severed a tendon in my left hand and it was not looking likely that I would be able to play the violin at all, let alone at a high enough level to play professionally again.  After six months of hard physiotherapy I started work again and this symphony was one of the first that I played.  When we started the last movement I was smiling from ear to ear because I was still on stage and my hand was still working and I knew I could do it.  I was going to make it back! ” Gillian Brightwell (violin)


“Brahms Requiem – that wonderful piece with the lovely lyrical opening for the cellos! Talking of which, Haydn D Major Cello Concerto with Thomas Carroll in the Spring – most ‘major’ cello concertos are in the minor (Dvorak, Elgar, Saint – Saens) – but this one is in a brilliant sunny D Major!” Tim Hewitt-Jones (cello) 


“I wish I was playing timpani in the Brahms. Apparently the premiere was ruined by the timpanist misreading the dynamics and drowning out the rest of the ensemble! I played it in my first year at college and sat amidst the orchestra as there was such a huge choir. As a timpanist or percussionist usually sat at the back it was heavenly to feel immersed in the music and musicians around me.” Donna-Maria Landowski (percussion)


“William Walton’s score for Olivier’s 1944 Henry V is as iconic as the film itself, and shows the composer as the true craftsman that he was. It is regal, theatrical, cinematic and stylish. A treat.” Matthew Forbes (cello)


“I love the Ron Goodwin scores. Many years ago as a young trumpeter in the Hampshire County Youth Orchestra we were lucky enough to have Ron Goodwin come along and conduct a whole programme of his music. I was unbelievably excited to have such an amazing musician and fabulously charismatic man conducting our orchestra.It was one of the concerts that made me decide I wanted to be a professional musician. I’m so looking forward to playing them again next Sunday.” Julie Ryan (trumpet)


“Ron Goodwin’s 633 Squadron: During my first week as leader of the BBC Midland Light Orchestra this stirring piece was broadcast live on air. The orchestra knew it so well that they didn’t bother to rehearse. There is a tricky key change for the middle section which completely threw me. That was the moment when I learned to smile serenely while completely lost!” John Bradbury (Leader)


“I remember playing the Dambusters March as an encore with Sir Adrian Boult. I think it was one of his favourite pieces.” Christine Messiter (flute)


“I’m very much looking forward to Dvorak 8 in January. It is one of my all-time favourite symphonies; the woodwind writing in the second movement is the best on earth!” Matthew Forbes (cello)


“Sunday 15th January – this is my favourite programme of the series. Barber of Seville – Fine opening overture. Grieg Piano Concerto – Love it. Dvorak 8th Symphony – Bliss.” John Bradbury (Leader)


“Sunday 5th March: Enescu’s Romanian Rhapsody: used to enjoy playing this with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Maurice Handford conducting. Very exciting piece. Korngold Violin Concerto: every violinist’s delight, made famous by Jascha Heifetz in his stunning recordings. I recorded this for a Danish radio orchestra. It was a long time ago. Not sure I would have the nerve to repeat the experience.” John Bradbury (Leader)


“I am hoping to be asked to play in the concert which includes Elgar 1st Symphony. I have a very curious story told to me by my  first violin teacher Lionel Bentley, concerning the recording of this piece with the LSO under Edward Elgar in Abbey Road studio 1 in 1930… one of the first recordings made there.

It was Lionel’s first week as a new member of the LSO. He was 22 years old. There are some solo  sections throughout the symphony played by the back desk string players and Lionel was perched on the back desk of the 1st violins with Reginald Morley, also at the beginning of his career, both about to play these solo bits. They both coincidentally played on violins labelled WE Hill and Sons and so inevitably when the plaintive notes threaded their way through the orchestra, they instantly became known as “the far away Hills.” Robin Brightman (violin)


“In March we’re playing Elgar’s First Symphony, which I adore. It’s a rollercoaster work-out for the strings, but worth every moment. It’s a piece that makes me proud to be British.” Matthew Forbes (cello)


“Looking forward to the Scriabin symphony in the sense that I am expecting the unexpected.” John Bradbury (Leader)


“I basically love everything we are going to play but am really looking forward to the Scriabin Symphony No.2 as I don’t know it and have never played it!” Rachel Benjamin (viola)


“It is great to bring a less familiar work to the Dome from under rated composer Alexander Scriabin. The passionate and dramatic second symphony from 1901 will thrill player and listener alike.  Presented to the New York Philharmonic with a wave of the score at the orchestra as “the new Bible” I hope that we will have some new converts on 26 March 2017 to the mystical music of the complex ‘God’ from Russia, Scriabin.” Tim Volkard (cello)


“I had a great deal of fun sourcing and listening to all these pieces in this season. I wanted to mix up some very well known pieces with some slightly unusual, when it came to the films – we went for British composers who all write magnificent tunes and everyone will be in for a musical feast.” Ian Brignall (Concert Manager)


“I am looking forward very much to the Korngold Violin Concerto and to hearing Chloë Hanslip playing it. I first heard Chloë play the violin when she was five years old and have been bowled over by her playing ever since! To have the Elgar First Symphony in the same programme is the icing on the cake.” Nicolas Chisholm, MBE (Chairman, Brighton & Hove Philharmonic Society)


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