Hampshire Recorder Sinfonia join Festival of Chichester

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The Owl and The Pussy Cat are coming to Boxgrove as part of this year’s Festival of Chichester.

Edward Lear’s nonsense verse has been loved by generations of children and grown-ups. Lear himself set some of it to music, but now Steve Marshall, a leading composer for the recorder, has set six of the poems specially for Hampshire Recorder Sinfonia and soprano Portia Kitcher.

The whole set is called Six Scroobious Songs and also includes The Table and The Chair and Calico Pie. The orchestra, conducted by its musical director Christopher Burgess, gave the first performance in June and is repeating it, with Steve Marshall present, specially for the Festival of Chichester on Saturday, July 8, 7.30pm in Boxgrove Priory, Church Lane, Boxgrove.

Ensuring a good balance between orchestra and singer has been a priority for Steve, and he has used just a sextet from the orchestra to accompany Portia when she sings.

Portia said: “Steve kept in touch with me, and I was amazed at how quickly he was able to complete the work. It’s meant I’ve had plenty of time to learn it.

“It’s been tremendous fun rehearsing these songs and I really look forward to performing them. I’m sure the audience will enjoy them. The joy of singing them comes from Steve’s masterful musical interpretation of the wonderful words and his clever scoring, which means that the voice is never overwhelmed by the orchestra.”

The programme includes Mendelssohn’s Pilgrims’ March, Bartok’s Romanian Folk Dances, Humperdinck’s Abendsegen (Evening Prayer) from Hansel und Gretel, and Elgar’s Moths and Butterflies from The Wand of Youth Suite no.2.

Sinfonia spokeswoman Jean Campbell said: “The Hampshire Recorder Sinfonia is a 40-strong orchestra of professional and amateur players who between them play seven sizes of recorder, from the tiny sopranino to the massive contrabass, bringing a full symphonic sound to their wide-ranging repertoire of music from early times to modern day.

Tickets on the door or www.thenovium.org/boxoffice or 01243 816525.

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