British violinist Chloë Hanslip joins the Northern Chamber Orchestra for a concert of Shostakovich, Grieg, Elgar and Finzi at The Stoller Hall.
Chloë Hanslip announced her talent early in life, making her BBC Proms debut at just 14 years old. Having since performed with the finest orchestras all over the world, from the Helsinki Philharmonic to the Russian State Symphony Orchestra, she’s established herself as an artist of distinction on an international stage. Closer to home, her talent is frequently lent to the Northern Chamber Orchestra – the oldest professional chamber ensemble in the North West – where she is an Artist in Association.
Joining forces with the NCO for the first time since the pandemic silenced our stages, Hanslip has a great programme in store for The Stoller Hall. It features Shostakovich’s one and only Violin Sonata, composed in 1968 for his friend, the great violin virtuoso David Oistrakh. Arranged for violin, strings and percussion by violinist Mikhail Zinman, it’s one of the finest works of Shostakovich’s late career; a chamber work of unbending grandeur that takes its listener on a typically powerful emotional journey, ending with a monumental passacaglia.
Before Shostakovich, we’ll hear Grieg’s 1884 evocation of a time 200 years earlier, when Danish-Norwegian writer Ludvig Holberg was born. A Baroque-inspired dance suite originally created for piano and then rescored for string orchestra, the Holberg Suite saw Grieg cast six movements in the musical forms of the 18th century, and fill them with the spirit of his own time and style. A work of strength, gentility, playfulness and meditation, it remains a most frequently performed work for string orchestras.
Another jewel of the string orchestra repertoire is Elgar’s Serenade of 1892. Elgar was a string-player, a violinist of considerable ability, and so it makes sense that his works for strings stand as some of his most characteristic and personal. Serenade perhaps exemplifies this better than any other of his compositions. A yearning work that radiates lyrical beauty – particularly in the central Larghetto – it requires a sensitive touch, but it’s in excellent hands with Chloë Hanslip and the NCO.
Completing the programme is Romance by the underrated British composer, Gerald Finzi. Highly passionate in character and rich in its melodic invention, Finzi’s writing here is characteristically open-hearted and approachable. From the stillness of the opening, the music unfolds, reaching a peak of intensity before returning to its roots. It’s a beautiful, bittersweet work that deserves more time in the concert hall.
As with the NCO’s entire 2020-21 season (which begins with a concert featuring Scottish pianist Steven Osborne) this concert will be recorded for online streaming, available to view an unlimited amount of times within the week it takes place.