Firm Favourites

Firm Favourites

Orchestral music offers something for everyone, but it can be difficult to know where to begin

Our selection of firm favourites offers the perfect introduction to the thrill of live orchestral music.

Be uplifted by the celestial sounds of Holst’s The Planets and experience the haunting poetry of Elgar's beautiful Cello Concerto as Sheku Kanneh-Mason brings this work to life.

2018/19 Concert Season

Legends of the north | 5 April 2019

Thrillingly bombastic and astoundingly virtuosic, it’s easy to hear why Grieg’s firecracker of a Piano Concerto has become one of the most enduringly popular of all concert pieces. Sibelius’s Symphony No. 5 is another postcard from Scandinavia, but one which presents an entirely different scene: this is music to stir the soul, steadily building to a uniquely beautiful finale inspired by a flight of swans at sunset.

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Janine Jansen plays Brahms | 3 May 2019

Brahms wrote his Violin Concerto while on a summer holiday in the Austrian Alps – and you can definitely tell. Few living violinists make it sing (and dance) quite like Janine Jansen. Enjoy it here alongside Bruckner’s Third symphony, itself an Alpine landscape in sound.

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2019/20 Concert Season

Elgar Cello Concerto | 5 October 2019

The drawn-out opening chords of Elgar's heartbreakingly beautiful Cello Concerto, are some of the most memorable in all music. Sheku Kanneh-Mason, 2016 BBC Young Musician of the Year, will bring this haunting poetry to life. Combined with Sibelius's gentlest symphony, this will be a night to remember.

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Verdi's Requiem | 12 October 2019

Drums thunder, trumpets blast and a massed chorus cries out in terror. Verdi brings his dramatic power to bear on a story of tragedy, redemption, and the end of time. The result is one of the mightiest of all choral masterpieces in the repertoire.

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Holst's The Planets | 23 October 2019

The celestial sounds of Holst’s The Planets are endlessly iconic. It takes an imposing figure to take on such an astronomically grand work; we can't wait to hear Thomas Adès's interpretation.

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Film Music | 1 November 2019

British cinema has a long history of producing unforgettable films; and beyond that unforgettable scores. In this concert, film music maestro Anthony Weeden introduces a century of British music from the silver screen. You’ll never hear them played with more energy or flair.

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Elgar's Enigma Variations | 9 November 2019

There have been more than sixty recordings of the Variations since Elgar's first back in 1924. If anyone can find Enigma's tender soul, it's conductor Marin Alsop.

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Mahler's Fifth Symphony | 13 November 2019

The popularity of the heart-melting Adagietto in Mahler's Fifth Symphony certainly owes much to Luchino Visconti's 1971 film Death in Venice. This crucial Adagietto is the moment when tragedy turns to triumph, deep despair to ecstatic joy. Hear it live in all its glory.

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Faure's Requiem | 18 January 2020

Passionate melodies and musical adoration have captivated audiences since the late 1800s; the emotional impact of Fauré’s Requiem is no less potent today than 200 years ago.

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Wagner's Siegfried | 1 February 2020

Part three of the Orchestra’s journey through Wagner’s colossal Ring Cycle reaches into the sunniest part of the saga. Growing up deep in the forest, the orphan Siegfried has never known fear - but that’s all about to change.

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Symphony No. 2 | 19 February 2020

Written one hundred years apart Beethoven and Sibelius’s Second Symphonies are arguably some of the 19th and 20th centuries greatest symphonic triumphs.

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Beethoven Symphony No.3 | 22 February 2020

A mainstay in any list of best symphonies, Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’ threatens to overshadow any piece programmed with it. Widmann’s haunting Lied for Orchestra undoubtedly doesn’t allow that to happen, with Ravel’s escapist fantasy Shéhérazade completing the programme.

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Beethoven Symphony No.5 | 28 March 2020

Beethoven's Fifth thunders into life with four notes that absolutely everyone can recognise.

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Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 2 | 27 May 2020

Join us for our season finale, as two great Romantic masterpieces lift the spirits.

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