Our opening this time will, of course, be the ritual 1st movement of Hummell’s Octet – Partita in Eb with which we have begun every Puffin concert for nearly 25 years. This jolly and energetic start serves to help the flock of Puffin observers/audience/family to preen, settle in, and be reassured, that it is indeed feeling that mid-November is here and life is, somehow, vaguely predictable, however…
This year, after the traditional start, we are being more adventurous and, to that end, we are performing the whole of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony…er… well nearly. The composer himself, in 1816 made several versions of both his 7th and 8th symphonies for ‘Harmonie Ensembles’ to play and he would have profited greatly from his efforts. Beethoven, and other composers, made full use of the possibilities of publishing arrangements of their famous works for this sort of performance and thus earnt more money by the process. Usually, these arrangements were done by assistants or pupils but sometimes the ‘great’ composers wanted more artistic control over their work.
Next, after a most necessary interval, when we can re-coop our breath, we will perform the Overture, by Arthur Sullivan, to the operetta ‘Iolanthe’. This marvellous and perky work was one of a very few overtures that the composer actually bothered to compose himself. This task was usually left to assistants and pupils. The Overture is most delightfully Mendelssohn-ian in spirit and excellent fun to play.
Thereafter the arranging and transcription skills are our own. Our ‘Puffin’ arrangements allow the audience to recognise more familiar and well-known tunes. And so, who would have thought that ‘Nessun dorma’, from Turandot, could be ‘sung’ by Dave (the French horn player)? Lollipops, of course, will close the evening, as usual.