Elder statesman’s single performance

shostakovich'Mark Elder
shostakovich'Mark Elder

MARK Elder makes his only appearance in the 2011-12 Sheffield International Concert Season at the City Hall this Friday, although he will not be on the podium for the whole concert.

The Hallé’s music director will, however, be guiding the orchestra through the main work on the programme, Beethoven’s revolutionary ‘Eroica’ Symphony and Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto with Hallé trumpet principal Gareth Small as the soloist.

One of the two most popular concertos for the instrument, Haydn wrote it in 1796 for a long-time friend, Anton Weidinger, for whom Hummel penned the other, heard earlier this year in the second half of the 2010-2011 International Concert Season. Weidinger is said to have developed a keyed trumpet that could play in a wider range than the then common valve-less trumpet which could only play in high register and Haydn, ever the innovator, duly wrote music in lower register for him in his trumpet concerto.

Weidinger’s idea for expanding the trumpet’s range was to drill holes in the instrument and cover them with keys reminiscent of those on a flute.

It proved fairly unpopular because the sound quality was apparently poor and it wasn’t until some 40 years after Haydn wrote his concerto that the valve trumpets we know today came into general use.

The opening work at the concert is Dvorák’s Serenade for wind, for which Sir Mark lets the orchestra’s assistant conductor Andrew Gourlay wield the baton, as he does at one of his concerts in Manchester each season.

This is the first time it has happened in Sheffield and the young man is clearly no mug, winning the prestigious Cadaqués Orchestra International Conducting Competition last year, which secured him concerts with 29 orchestras worldwide.

Dvorák’s supremely melodic and folk-inflected Serenade is classed as a chamber work, written as it is for two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, double bassoon, three horns, cello and double bass.