City strings lined up for local festival

Chichester String Ensemble will be playing its part in this year’s Festival of Chichester with a concert on Sunday, June 29 at 2.30pm.

Coming under the Music On Sundays banner, the concert will be in Christ Church, Old Market Avenue, Chichester, under director Mark Hartt-Palmer and featuring soloists Kirsty Shewan and Graham Paul (trumpets).

The programme will be Vivaldi – Concerto for Two Trumpets & Strings; Bach – Brandenberg Concerto No.3; Grieg – Two Elegiac Melodies; Suk – Serenade for Strings; and Nielsen – Little Suite for Strings. Tickets £10; students £5; children £5.

Mark explains: “The ensemble was started by Jean Greenlees (former chairman of Music On Sundays). She retired from running the orchestra though she still plays in it. She has asked me to take over the reins. I am now the conductor/musical director.

“The ensemble goes back a few years. I think this is our fourth year. It was started through Music on Sundays, but we quite often do a lunch-time concert in Chichester Cathedral, and we have also done a concert to raise funds for the church at Rogate. We do two or three concerts a year.”

They number around 25 in playing strength.

“Jean handed over a list of players that she has sued. I think string players like to play in a string orchestra. It’s something that has not regularly happened in this area before, I don’t think. It fills a need.”

Mark has now put together the programme for the ensemble for the year.

“In October, being Strauss’ 150th anniversary, I am hoping to do the Metamorphosen for 23 solo strings. It’s quite an ambitious plan, but it is a wonderful piece and I think it is quite fitting to do it this year a) because it is Strauss’ 150th anniversary and b) because he wrote it as his reaction to the devastation and destruction of his home town of Munich during World War Two. I know it is the anniversary of World War One this year, but I think the piece is just as apt this year.”