Chamber orchestra brings crowd-pleasing programme

Dynamic and crowd-pleasing music from three of the greatest composers of all-time will thrill audiences at Norwich Theatre Royal on March 24 when the European Union Chamber Orchestra (EUCO) takes to the stage.

The concert continues the theatre’s classical music season which aims to bring an array of international performers to the region and showcase gems from the orchestral repertoire.

The European Union Chamber Orchestra, which gave its first concerts in 1981, has a worldwide reputation as a musical ambassador for the European Union, touring around the globe to 73 different countries performing in major concert halls and festivals. It has worked with distinguished artists ranging from Cyprien Katsaris, Lazar Berman, Mischa Maisky, Igor Oistrakh and James Galway, to Ivo Pogorelich, Nicola Benedetti, Alina Ibragimova, Emma Johnson and Gil Apap.

The orchestra also commissions works from leading European composers and has recorded 19 CDs, receiving an Outstanding Award in 2013’s July International Record Review for its release of music by Mozart. Its flagship Aladdin project supports talented young musicians.

For its Norwich date, the European Union Chamber Orchestra’s programme will open with Bach’s iconic Brandenburg Concerto No. 3. This will be followed by popular Mozart Piano Concerto K.414 A major with one of Britain’s most distinguished pianists Martin Roscoe, and will conclude with Vivaldi’s brilliant set of concertos The Four Seasons featuring prize-winning young violinist Emily Sun.

The orchestra will be directed by Eva Stegemaan, the Dutch violinist who has appeared as a soloist with many orchestras internationally and was concert master of Sinfonia Rotterdam from 2007–2012 and for several years concert master of the National Youth Orchestra of Holland. She has worked as a director with the European Union Chamber Orchestra since 2003, leading from the first chair and playing a G.B. Rogeri (Brescia) violin from around 1680.

Soloist Martin Roscoe has enjoyed an extraordinary career spanning over four decades and is unarguably one of the nation’s best loved pianists. He works regularly with many of the UK’s leading orchestras, including the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, National Orchestra of Wales and Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the  Hallé.  A prolific recitalist and chamber musician, Martin tours the UK extensively every season, including regular appearances at Wigmore Hall and Kings Place, and has made over 500 broadcasts, including seven BBC Prom appearances.

Award-winning Australian violinist Emily Sun is rapidly gaining international recognition as a rising soloist. She was awarded the Gold Medal of the 2016 Royal Overseas League Music Competition UK, the first violinist to win the award since 1981. She is a BBC Introducing Artist, and has performed as soloist in international venues such as the Sydney Opera House, Tchaikovsky Great Hall Moscow, Tel Aviv Opera House, Auditorium du Louvre, and Wigmore Hall.

Johann Sebastian Bach wrote his six Brandenburg Concertos between 1717 and 1721 when he was Kapellmeister at the court of Prince Leopold at Anhalt-Cöthen, where the enlightened Prince often took part in performances. The concertos were later dedicated to the Margrave of Brandenburg. Each concerto has a different orchestration and the Third is scored for strings alone, in nine parts, with a continuo bass, moving from a da capo aria to a binary dance form.

Mozart’s Piano Concerto K.414A major was written Vienna in 1782 and was the first of a set of three piano concertos (with K. 413 and 415) that he performed during Lent, when theatres and the opera went dark by decree until Easter. He described them himself as “…a happy medium between what is too easy and too difficult; they are very brilliant to the ear, and natural…”

He hoped to sell the three concertos for home performance with string quartets, so No. 12 was lightly scored for solo piano, two oboes, two horns and strings.

The third piece, the Four Seasons, is one of Vivaldi’s most famous works for violin. Composed in 1723, they were the first four of a set of 12 concertos and were published with sonnets which Vivaldi may have written himself. The listener will hear descriptions of warbling birds, rain, lightning, thunder and the ‘goatherd in a flowery meadow’ in the Spring concerto; the cuckoo, the dove and the goldfinch, and another storm, in the Summer concerto: harvest and hunting scenes in the Autumn concerto; and chattering teeth and the stamping of feet in Winter.