Exeter Symphony Orchestra

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Exeter Symphony Orchestra

15th July 2023 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm


The Exeter Symphony Orchestra (ESO) under conductor Arturo Serna presents Classics Outdoors – music by Bizet, Sousa, Walton and others – in the grounds of Poltimore House, near Exeter, on Saturday 15 July 2023 at 3:00pm;

Gates open for pre-concert picnics at 12:00pm. Branches café will be open serving light lunches, sumptuous cakes, cream teas and hot and cold drinks. The ice-cream cart will be out near the arena.

To open Classics Outdoors in this coronation year we look to William Walton (1902-1983) and his Crown Imperial. Commissioned for King George VI’s coronation in 1937, this now familiar ceremonial march also featured in the 1953 and 2023 coronations, and the wedding of Prince William and Katherine Middleton in 2011. Written with alacrity inside a fortnight and including a nobilmente trio section of
Elgarian quality, it marks Walton’s absorption into the national tradition of music for royal occasions. We hope you’ll agree with one critic of the day that its finale is a “conclusion of breath-taking magnificence”.

Georges Bizet (1838-1875) was initially influenced by Gounod and Saint-Saëns, but his later acquaintance with Rossini drew him to opera. He enjoyed some early success, but his conventionbreaking last opera shocked the 1875 audience, abruptly raised his public profile and convinced him of failure. But, despite Bizet’s worst fears, Carmen quickly became one of the most popular operas ever. The eponymous heroine craves love, but creates obsession and jealousy, so our selection from Carmen Suite No 2 showcases her seductive Habañera and the Toréador’s Song, among other passionate melodies.

In complete contrast, our next, similarly enduring piece may have you standing to attention, ready to step smartly off! The Washington Post (march) was composed in 1889 by John Philip Sousa (1854-1932) to help promote the newspaper. A Washingtonian himself and a one-time apprentice violinist, Sousa was by then director of the US Marine Corps Band. After last year’s enthusiastic response to ‘Stars and Stripes Forever’, we just couldn’t resist including more from ‘The American March King’ in this year’s programme.

We began above with a composer renowned for his film soundtracks, but now advance to an epic space drama: Star Wars by John Williams (b.1932). The medley we’ll play features many of around 50 recurring themes or leitmotifs developed by the American composer to represent characters, objects and events in the feature film. He draws on the classical heritage of Richard Strauss, Holst, Walton and
Stravinsky among others, so see what you recognise. It’s great, stirring music from a master composer of the cinema, so it’s no surprise that he was made an Honorary KBE by HM Queen Elizabeth II last year.

In Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl by Frankfurt-am-Main born, Klaus Badelt (b.1967), you’ll hear more familiar numbers from another great movie. Released in 2003, the original boxoffice sensation is described as a ‘fantasy supernatural swashbuckler film’ and we feel sure you’ll relish earing its dashing themes again.

So, do join us in the wonderful setting of Poltimore House to enjoy a performance of popular classics from the cinema, concert hall and opera house.

Booking is open now at ESOClassicsOutdoorstickets:
Adults £10; Under-16s free. (Free car parking).



15th July 2023
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm


Exeter Symphony Orchestra
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Poltimore House and Grounds
Poltimore House
Exeter, Devon EX4 0AU United Kingdom
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