Hanover Band will be one of the highlights of the Festival of Chichester

One of the UK’s finest period instrument orchestras, The Hanover Band strengthens its friendship with Chichester by offering one of the musical highlights of city’s new festival.

As administrator Stephen Neiman says, the thrill for the audience will be seeing and hearing the natural horn in action.

The concert will be in Chichester Cathedral on July 6 at 7.30pm when the programme will be

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Gluck: Overture to Orfeo ed Euridica; Dance of the Blessed Spirits; Dance of the Furies; and Mozart: Horn Concertos 2 and 3; Symphony no.41 Jupiter.

Part of the Hanover Band series of Mozart Horn Concerti, the night features Philip Eastop on the natural horn and Anthony Halstead as director.

“We are known in Chichester for our annual Passion in the Cathedral which we have now been doing for nine years,” Stephen said. “We feel very strongly now we are in Arundel that Chichester is part of our catchment area, and we want to develop that. We also have a very loyal following in Chichester.”

The band moved to Arundel last year, and it has proved the perfect move: “St Nicholas Church in Arundel has got an absolutely-superb acoustic for us. You can hear everything in that church, absolutely everything – as you can in Chichester Cathedral. It’s extraordinary, whether you are sitting at the front, at the back or in the middle.”

Ironically, the band’s very first Chichester Cathedral concert was by mistake, Stephen recalls: “We were booked for Chichester Festival Theatre, and for some reason the CFT could not stage the performance. They had to find an alternative venue for us, and that alternative venue was the Cathedral, which was our luck. And we were also lucky that Nicholas Frayling had just taken over as Dean.

“Nicholas was the vicar of All Saints, Tooting, in the late 80s to 90s which is where all the London orchestras used to make their recordings. Lots and lots of orchestras were there. Nicholas, being a musician himself, developed All Saints, Tooting into the most wonderful recording venue. It is still very popular.

“It was him being in Chichester and the CFT not being able to stage the performance that brought us to the Cathedral, and then he said ‘You have done it once. We should see if you could do an annual Passion, and the rest, as they say, is history...

“For Chichester we are doing a varied programme, which is mainly Mozart. The Hanover Band recorded all the Mozart horn concertos with Anthony Halstead who is conducting this concert. He was the pre-eminent natural horn player in the 1980s and 1990s. He recorded the works with us in 1995, and now this concert is the precursor to another recording of the horn concertos by us, but this time with Philip Eastop who is playing in the concert.”

The Mozart will feature in a couple of subsequent Hanover Band concerts before they make the recording in Hampstead in October.

As Stephen says, recordings are important: “Recording puts down a marker, if you like, not only for the soloists, but also for the orchestra. People clamour for recordings, especially in the UK and America. People like collecting things, and it is always the most amazing calling card for us.

“We have now made 164 recordings since Caroline formed the orchestra in 1979, and every time we make a recording, we probably get half a dozen requests from organisations to come and perform. If someone hears something, then they are likely to want to come to see it.”