EMG Symphony Orchestra with Leo Geyer inset.jpg

Unlock the enigmas with EMG Symphony Orchestra

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On Friday 3rd November join EMG Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Leo Geyer at Exeter Cathedral for the orchestra’s 50th anniversary celebratory concert, generously supported by Exeter City Council and Exeter BID. This promises to be a fabulous evening which is not to be missed.

This concert of English music opens with Bax’s stormy tone poem Tintagel, followed by the premiere of Exeter Cityscapes, a symphonic suite by local composer Alfie Pugh, which has been specially commissioned to celebrate EMG’s 50th anniversary.

Alfie Pugh, an Exeter-based freelance musician, has won multiple awards for composition including the Charities Philharmonia Young Composer’s Competition 2011, and the Symphonic Wind Orchestra of North London’s Composition Competition 2014.

He has enjoyed success working on the preservation of the music of Barry Gray, whose soundtrack to Thunderbirds was recently rerecorded from scores partly prepared by Alfie, and went to number one in the Japanese classical charts.

For the second half of the concert the orchestra is joined by the EMG Singers under the baton of Associate Conductor Tony Hindley for Parry’s I Was Glad. The concert concludes with Elgar’s Enigma Variations, re-imagined for chorus and orchestra by Leo, and featuring soloists Heloise West and Michael Graham.

After completing the initially titled Variations on an Original Theme, Elgar resolved to add the title ‘Enigma’, suggesting that there is an enigmatic secret hidden in the piece. During his lifetime he hinted at some clues to solve the implied puzzle, and though various solutions were proposed, Elgar accepted none and took the secret to the grave.

Drawing on the commonly held belief that the opening phrase of the theme mirrors the rhythm of Elgar’s name, Leo’s re-imagining presents Elgar himself as the ‘Enigma’, an ideal artistic genius, personified in the text of Arthur O’Shaughnessy’s Ode, (the text Elgar used in his choral work The Music Makers). To complete the Enigma Variations puzzle, the chorus act as the missing piece, singing the Ode to represent Elgar himself.

There will be a retiring collection in aid of Exeter Dementia Action Alliance, part of the national Dementia Action Alliance network, which seeks to empower people living with dementia and their families, raise awareness of dementia and is working towards making Exeter a dementia-friendly city.

Tickets for this concert cost £16, £13, £11 and £9 (students and under-16s – £5 for non-premium seats) and are available from Exeter Tourist Information, Dix’s Field, Exeter, 01392 665885 (9.30am – 4.30pm, Monday – Saturday), online from https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/390279 or on the door.

For more information about EMG Symphony Orchestra visit www.emgsymphonyorchestra.org, find them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.


Philip R Buttall

Philip Buttall

Philip Buttall

Philip R Buttall was the Classical Music Writer at Plymouth Herald from 1997-2017. He is a sought-after piano teacher, composer and arranger, and online concert and CD reviewer. Further information and contact details are available at www.philiprbuttall.co.uk
Philip Buttall