Bridgewater Sinfonia to serve up real mixed bag

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Two worlds collide this weekend when the Bridgewater Sinfonia presents a programme of contrasting orchestral works.

There can be very few music lovers not familiar with Jean Sibelius’ symphonic poem Finlandia – a swirl of haunting melody and vigorous rhythm that has engaged listeners since its first performance in 1900.

The familiarity will extend to Maurice Ravel’s Bolero, which has either captivated or enraged listeners since its first performance in Paris in 1928.

This work with its hypnotic, constant drum rhythm and sinuous, sensual melodic line, engages all the instruments of the large orchestra as Ravel paints a vivid and colourful palette of orchestral timbres in a virtuoso piece of orchestration. The Bolero will be the final, climactic work in the programme.

It will be preceded by two relatively unfamiliar yet alluring pieces. The orchestra will be entering the world of ballet – but with a difference – in the form of Darius Milhaud’s La Création du Monde, in which the composer uses the musical language of Afro-American jazz, combined with some more traditional elements, to bring about an episodic evocation of creation.

It is a stunning piece of writing with some wild and frenetic moments – amid some calm moments of evolution! 

Some more serious-minded listeners will be truly catered for with the seldom heard Symphony No 6 of Jean Sibelius – a work that has all the hallmarks of this Finnish composer, with mood-swings from serene and placid, through Nordic cold to burning passion.

A programme with something for everyone, don’t miss out!

The concert will be at St Peter’s Church in Berkhamsted on Saturday, November 17 at 7.30pm. Tickets are £15 (free for under 18s), and are available online at or from Aitchisons, Berkhamsted.