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All three worksin our concert werecomposed aroundthe same time.
We are delighted towelcome Martin Outram, oursoloist in the Walton Viola Concerto.
Martin wasborn inBillericay. He attended King Edward VIGrammarSchool in Chelmsford, where Patricia Beckett taught himviolin and viola,and then aged 15 sent him to have lessonswith JohnWhite.
Martin is amemberof the internationally renowned
Maggini Quartet. He has recorded over 50 discs with
the Quartet and otherchambermusic ensembles
and has been the recipient of the Gramophone Award,
the Diapason d’Or, a Cannes Classical Award,two
Grammy nominations and the Royal Philharmonic
SocietyAward for chamber music.
In additionto his work with the Maggini Quartet,
Martin appears widely asa soloist.His repertoire
embracesthe major works for viola and several
workshave been written forhim.Since makinghis
Royal Festival Hall concerto debut with the London MozartPlayers, Martinhas appeared as a soloistin Russia, Argentina, Brazil and Europe. Recently highly acclaimed UK performances include the Bartok Concertoand the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante with Julian Leaper.
Walton’s Viola Concertois one of the most famous and recognised compositions in the viola repertoire. Itwas first performed atthe Proms in Queen’s Hall, London, in 1929.The viola concerto was well received.Walton was well known forrevising his compositions after their first performance. In 1962 he reduced the orchestrationand this revised version was then performed atthe Royal Festival Hall with Sir Malcolm Sargent conducting and John Coulingas the soloist.In 1972 the concertowasused for a ballet about Oscar Wilde.
Walton’s Portsmouth Pointwas inspired by Rowlandson’s printdepicting Portsmouth Point. The bright andbawdy scene includes‘lustful carousingamidmercantile ships, a tavern ….with a drunken peg-leg street fiddler narrowly avoidingtreading on a mongrel hound’.The opening strands of the overture came to Walton whilst ridinga route 22 bus in London.Listen outforthe sailor’s hornpipe!Portsmouth Point was completed in 1928. Walton hadleft Oxford Universitywithout a degree having immersed himself in contemporary music.But within ten years ofcomposing Portsmouth Point, andhaving composed the Viola Concerto, Belshazzar’s Feast and the FirstSymphony, Walton was regarded asthe leading British composerof his generation.
Our concert concludeswithVaughan Williams’ Job– A Masque for Dancing. This one-act ballet, completed in 1931,was inspired by William Blake’s‘Illustrations tothe Bookof Job’.Theballet has nine scenes, loosely based on Blake’s illustrations.The ‘story’ of the ballet is thatJob has prospered andis seen byGod to be a model servant.Satan claims that Job might notbe such a good servant ifhewere tolose his fortune.God, however, being certain that Job would remainfaithful,permitsSatan to destroy Job’s fortune, his family and hishealth.Job remains faithful and God winshisbetwith Satan.God restores Joband he lives to the age of140.