LSO Discovery

Lunchtime Concert
Friday 22 October 2021 12.30pm

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LSO Discovery Lunchtime Concert
Friday 10 September 2021, 12.30 to 1.15pm

Saint-Saëns Romance in E Op 67
Bethan Morgan-Williams In the Crypt
Richard Bissill Valse Noire

Alexander Edmundson French horn
Philip Shannon piano
Bethan Morgan-Williams electronics
Rachel Leach presenter

The LSO String Experience Scheme is generously supported by the Thriplow Charitable Trust, Fidelio Charitable Trust and Lord and Lady Lurgan Trust.

LSO St Luke's Jerwood Hall

© Matthew Weinreb

LSO St Luke's Jerwood Hall

© Matthew Weinreb

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Camille Saint-Saëns (1835 to 1921)

Romance in E Op 67

✒️ 1866 | ⏰7 minutes

Saint-Saëns (pronounced San-Son) began his career as a child prodigy pianist. Then, as a young composer he was a rebel with a totally new sound. Fast forward to the end of his life and he had become a grumpy old man, publicly critical of all that was new. Throughout his long career Saint-Saëns wrote many small chamber works and was particularly interested in creating repertoire for what he termed ‘neglected’ instruments. He wrote two Romances for horn and each one was dedicated to a superstar horn player of the day. This one was written in 1866 and adapted from a solo cello piece. Little is known about why he created it and why it wasn’t published until almost 20 years later, but horn players are thankful that it exists - it’s gorgeous!

Note by Rachel Leach

Bethan Morgan-Williams (born 1992)

In the Crypt

✒️ 2015 | ⏰8 minutes

IIn the Crypt is an interactive piece for French horn and electronics, inspired by a recording session that took place in the chapel of Lancing College in 2015. The samples that make up the electronics interweave to produce a blanket of sound, juxtaposed with striking and percussive piano sounds. Many extended horn techniques are used, making it an exciting, virtuosic and technically-demanding piece. Use of vibrato is explored extensively throughout the piece, and many of the nuances rely on a contrast between conventional tuning and the beautiful (sometimes haunting) natural tunings.

Note by Bethan Morgan-Williams

Richard Bissill (born 1959)

Valse Noire

✒️ 2007 | ⏰6 minutes

Richard Bissill is well known as hornist, composer and arranger. He joined the LSO’s horn section aged 22 before moving on to the post of principal horn of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and staying there for 25 years. He is now at the Royal Opera House and professor of horn at the Guildhall School. Bissell is regarded as one of the most virtuosic players in the business but is kept equally busy as composer and arranger of energetic, luscious music with a frequently jazzy edge. This piece was written for fellow horn principal Nigel Black and world-famous pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy in 2007. Following a dreamy piano introduction, the horn introduces the first of two slinky waltzes which are then taken up and filled out by piano. After a return to the beginning, the piece ends with an exciting climax filled with virtuosity.

Note by Rachel Leach

Artist Biographies

Alexander Edmundson
LSO Co-Principal Horn

Lancashire born horn player Alexander Edmundson has been Co-Principal Horn of the London Symphony Orchestra since 2015. Alex is currently on sabbatical from the LSO whilst playing Principal Horn with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He studied with Jeffrey Bryant at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, before continuing as a Master of Music scholar at the Royal College of Music under Simon Rayner.

 Outside of the LSO, Alex regularly performs internationally as Guest Principal with many leading orchestras including the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Philharmonia, London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. He also frequently works on many film sessions, including as Principal Horn on the 2018 Oscar-winning movie Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water.

 Alex lives in London with his wife Eve-Marie, a cellist, and their daughter Henria.

Portrait of Alexander Edmundson.

Philip Shannon

Philip Shannon took his first degree from Oxford where he was a mathematics scholar at the age of 16. Encouraged by Roger Vignoles to follow his first love, piano accompaniment, he entered the Guildhall School for advanced studies under Paul Hamburger and Gordon Back. After winning all the accompaniment prizes in his first year, he was awarded a scholarship to study vocal repertoire with Graham Johnson.

 He has been active in every capacity as a musician: as repetiteur with experience at ENO and numerous smaller companies; as vocal and instrumental coach at the Guildhall School; as broadcaster on Radio 3 with the violinist Leo Payne, with whom he was a joint winner of the National Federation of Music Societies competition; as pianist for both the London Symphony and London Philharmonic Orchestras, and continuo player with the London Mozart Players. In 1997 he received an Honorary Fellowship from the Guild of Musicians and Singers.

Portrait of Philip Shannon.

Bethan Morgan-Williams
Composer & electronics

Bethan Morgan-William is a composer who writes quirky, rhythmically-intricate music. Described as 'marvellously oblique and obscure' [5against4] while being 'rooted in something ancient and folky' [The Telegraph], Bethan’s music finds motivation in the apogee of musical performance. With composer-performer collaborations a key part of Bethan’s practice, each piece is written according to the characters of those involved.

Bethan is currently based in mid-Wales, having studied predominantly with Gary Carpenter at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, and Diderik Wagenaar at the Royal Conservatory in Den Haag.

Portrait of Bethan Morgan-Williams.

(C) Kevin Leighton

(C) Kevin Leighton

© Neil Wilkinson

© Neil Wilkinson

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Save the Date:
Forthcoming Lunchtime Concerts

Friday 19 November 12.30pm

Coleridge-Taylor Serenade and Humoresque from Fantasiestücke for String Quartet Op 5
Grazyna Bacewicz String Quartet No 4

Zephyr Quartet
Rachel Leach presenter

The London Symphony Orchestra is hugely grateful to all the Patrons and Friends, Corporate Partners, Trusts and Foundations, and other supporters who make its work possible.

The LSO's return to work is generously supported by DnaNudge.