David Childs was awarded the title 'International Euphonium Player of the Year' at the age of eighteen. During the same period he became the only euphonium soloist ever to win the brass final of the classical 'BBC Young Musician of the Year' competition and was also awarded a Silver Medal from the Worshipful Company of Musicians.
David made his BBC Proms solo debut in 2001 with the BBC Philharmonic, and later appeared as a soloist with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Last Night of the Welsh Proms. He has already completed recital tours of America, Australia, and the Middle East and in the last two years has premiered four new concerti for euphonium including one from the pen of the internationally renowned Alun Hoddinott. David is looking forward to performing Hoddinott's concerto entitled, 'The Sunne Rising - The King Will Ride' at this year's BBC Prom with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
Last year saw David win a Yamaha Foundation of Europe International soloist award, a Star Award from the Countess of Munster Trust, the Leggett Award from the Musicians' Benevolent Fund, a distinction in Professional Performance from the RNCM in addition to the RNCM's coveted Gold Medal Award. His première performance with the RNCM Wind Orchestra of Carl Rutti's Concerto for Euphonium was listed above performances from the Hallé Orchestra and the BBC Philharmonic as Manchester's Première of the Year 2002 in the Classical Music Magazine. David's second solo album, Metamorphosis, has received international acclaim and is regularly featured on Classic FM. David's latest solo album is entitled Hear My Prayer and was recently released on the Doyen label.
Having graduated from the RNCM with a first class honours degree, David is now reading for a Master of Music degree at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama where he is employed as a specialist euphonium tutor, and continues his own studies with his life long teacher and father, Robert.
David made his Wigmore Hall debut last year and recently gave a recital in London's Purcell Room as part of the Park Lane Groups Young Artists New Year Series. He is now looking forward to future performances including various solo performances with orchestras in the UK, numerous recitals throughout Europe, concerto performances at the Cheltenham and Harrogate International Festivals and many other solo appearances throughout the world.
David has already achieved a great deal as a young euphonium soloist, but is now more than ever dedicated to raising the profile of his chosen instrument. As a Besson solo artist and an ambassador of Youth Music's 'Endangered Species' initiative, David is well on the way to proving the euphonium as a solo vehicle within the classical world of music, something no other euphonium soloist has yet achieved.
Harvey Davies studied the piano with Helen Davies and David Parkhouse before going to Ryszard Bakst at the Royal Northern College of Music in 1983. In 1987 he won the title, Young Musician of the Year at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod and in 1990 gave his South Bank debut during the Park Lane Group's prestigious contemporary music series.
Harvey was on the Live Music Now! scheme for many years,
work that has taken him to venues of all descriptions throughout the
UK. Harvey is now well established as a fine chamber musician and accompanist.
He has played regularly on national radio and television channels including
BBC Radio 3 and 4, BBC 1 and 2, Independent Television and S4C.
Hermaiden's Dance (Valflickens Dans) - Hugo Alven
Hermaiden's Dance (Valflickens Dans) - Hugo Alven (1872-1960)
This piece, originally composed as an orchestral piece by Hugo Alven mainly featuring the violin section, is a work of amazing flare and technical display. In its original form it lasted for approximately four minutes. However, in the arrangement we are to hear tonight, made by Dr. Robert Childs (David's father and a distinguished musician well known in the brass band world), material is taken from the beginning and the end of the original work to make an exciting and impressive introduction to the concert.
Morceau de Concours - Joseph Edouard Barat (1882-1963)
Joseph Barat was a student of French composer Paul Vidal. Vidal, himself a pupil of César Franck, was an eminent conductor at the Opéra Comique in Paris. Barat's main occupation was as bandmaster with the French army, and during his long career he produced many fine works for wind instruments and orchestra. Most frequently heard is his Andante & Scherzo for trombone and orchestra written in 1935 for performance at the Paris Conservatoire.
Throughout the Paris Conservatoire's illustrious history many fine musical works written by well-known composers and performers (and originally intended as student test pieces) have subsequently found their way into the established repertoire and concert programmes. Tonight we hear one such piece, Joseph Barat's Morceau de Concours, written late in his career in 1957 and conceived originally for the Saxhorn.
The Saxhorns are a family of valved brass instruments developed by Adolphe Sax in France in the mid-nineteenth century. In England, only two instruments of the family are now in common use - abbreviated commonly to Tenor Horn and Baritone.
This piece is dedicated to J. Balay, a famous Paris soloist.
Sonata Brevis - Rodney Newton
This work was written in January 2003 especially for David Childs and may be considered as an exercise in compression. It is cast in classical sonata form but lasts for only five minutes. The material is based on a sequence of twelve chromatic notes. However, despite these notes undergoing the usual inversions and retrogrades associated with dodecaphonic technique, this is not a serial composition. The series and its transformations are used more in the way of modes and all the harmonic and melodic material may be traced back to the original twelve-note row.
The first movement, Allegro Energico, is in traditional sonata form with a craggy exposition, a more lyrical second subject, a short development, a recapitulation and the briefest of codas (a mere two bars).
The second movement, Molto Moderato, is a chaconne and, again, is in the traditional form used by Purcell and Bach.
The third movement, Molto Vivace, is a very short, high-spirited
rondo, lasting just one minute.
Skunk - Simon Parkin
Simon Parkin is well known to audiences as a pianist and chamber musician, especially as a duo partner with wife, the cellist, Hannah Roberts (who played for South Holland Concerts in March 1993). Born in Manchester, Parkin now teaches composition at the Royal Northern College of Music. He has had many of his compositions (including a Cello Concerto for his wife) widely performed, and his varied genre has embraced chamber, choral and operatic work. He has a special interest in the interaction of jazz and 'pop' styles with classical traditions and he is frequently heard in the performance of contemporary repertoire.
Skunk was composed in 2001 and David Childs gave the first performance, partnered by the composer, at the 2001 Festival of Brass held at the Royal Northern College of Music. As an interesting rhythmical piece which has had audiences' feet tapping, Skunk explores many of the technical and lyrical possibilities of both euphonium and piano. At the end, following the return of initial material, the piece comes to an abrupt finish with a series of fortissimo pedal tones.
Irish Tune from County Derry and The Sussex Mummers'
Carol - Percy Grainger (1882-1961)
Percy Grainger was born in Victoria, Australia. He was an exceedingly talented pianist at an early age and, following a period of study in Frankfurt, he settled temporarily in London in 1901. It was during this period, before finally emigrating to the United States in the First World War, that Grainger became absorbed in collecting and arranging the folk songs and melodies of the British Isles.
Irish Tune from County Derry is based on a melody originally collected by a certain Miss J. Ross of County Kerry in Ireland, and this setting was made by Grainger in 1909. The piece is dedicated to the memory of Edvard Grieg with whom Grainger had become close friends. The Sussex Mummers' Carol dates from approximately the same period, and both settings were later re-worked by the composer for a variety of vocal and instrumental groupings.
Lento from Concerto for Euphonium - Joseph Horovitz (b.1926)
Viennese-born Joseph Horovitz settled in England in 1938 and studied composition with Gordon Jacob at the Royal College of Music. He became well respected as a conductor of ballet and opera, joining the staff of Glyndebourne Opera in 1956. Now a distinguished composer, he is a Fellow of the Royal College of Music and has been Professor of Composition there since 1961. His numerous works include concertos for many different instruments, string quartets, choral and operatic scores, as well as music for TV and theatre.
The Concerto for Euphonium dates from 1972 and is regarded as the first substantial concerto written for the instrument. It was first performed by Trevor Groom and the GUS Footwear Band at London's Royal Albert Hall. This concerto is frequently performed, perhaps partly due to the exceptionally beautiful and lyrical melodies of the work's popular second movement - Lento. It is certainly considered one of the most attractive pieces of original music in the euphonium's growing repertoire.
Fantasy - Johann N. Hummel (1778-1837)
In his lifetime, Austrian-born Johann Hummel was considered one of Europe's finest composers and pianists. A prolific composer, he is remembered today largely for delightful chamber works and concerti for various instruments. The 'Fantasy' was a popular form of music in the eighteenth century, consisting mainly of a potpourri of hit tunes of the day.
Originally written for the clarinet or viola and incorporating the melody of the Mozart's aria "Il Mio Tesoro" from his opera Don Giovanni, this version is arranged and edited for euphonium by Robert Childs and Philip Wilby.
Introduction, Theme and Variations - Gioacchino Rossini
It is in the period of his youth (he was only eighteen) that the composer wrote his Introduction, Theme and Variations, and this largely light-hearted work (almost certainly originally conceived for the clarinet) displays all the confident assurance of his later years. After the introduction and the soloist's dashing entrance, the tuneful main theme is followed by five formal variations, each one adding more layers of elaboration and technical difficulty.
Hear My Prayer - Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
The lyrical simplicity of its melodic line combined with the plea of the title makes this one of the most intimate of Mendelssohn's works. Originally composed for soprano voice and choir, the prayer is always a dialogue between the individual and the Creator. In this arrangement for solo euphonium & piano, the popular and famous melody, O for the Wings of a Dove forms the final part of the work.
Nocturne op.55 no.1 in F minor - Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)
Chopin's much loved piano Nocturnes span practically his entire lifetime as a mature musician. The earliest in E minor (op.72 no.1), numbered and published after his death, dates from around 1827, and the final two Nocturnes op.60 date from 1846.
During Chopin's lifetime these Nocturnes were among the most popular of his piano compositions, having degrees of harmonic daring that set him well apart from other piano composers of the time. As a piano virtuoso, Chopin's imagination in keyboard composition was never dull. For example, in many of these characteristic pieces the main melody is to be found in an inner part - almost hidden within decorative piano figuration above and below it.
Since many of these delightful works are dedicated to various ladies of Chopin's acquaintance, it has been suggested that they could perhaps be perceived as some of his most private and eloquent love letters! This Nocturne we are to here tonight is one of a pair written in Paris in 1844 (the same year as the Sonata in B minor) at the time when the composer was conducting a love affair with the famous novelist, George Sand.
Arioso & Allegro - Joseph-Hector Fiocco (1703-1741)
Fiocco was born in Brussels into a musical family. As an organist and harpsichordist he was strongly influenced by the music of Couperin, whose music he admired. As well as the French master's influence in his music, we can detect a thorough grounding in the early Italian styles - particularly, perhaps, that of Vivaldi.
Fiocco's Allegro (and the lyrical Arioso movement that precedes it), was originally written for harpsichord. In this arrangement by Robert Childs for euphonium, we have a piece that explores the wide compass and dynamic range of the instrument. The Arioso demonstartes beautiful mellow tones and colours, while the busy Allegro is technically challenging.
Carnival of Venice - Paganini/Arban
Joseph Arban was a well-known cornet and trumpet player in 19th century Paris. A respected teacher at the Paris Conservatoire, his reputation was strengthened by his systematic approach to instruction embodied in his Grande Méthode Complète - a tutorial still in use today. His setting of Carnival (a Venetian melody that has probably been known for a few hundred years) is a virtuoso piece that has been readily adapted by players of other brass instruments and requires a delicacy of attack combined with a daring panache.
The violinist Paganini also used the melody as the basis of a sensational set of variations to demonstrate his phenomenal technique. The Victorians loved this piece, and numerous player/composers have subsequently made enjoyable, if sometimes curious, arrangements. (The varied list included settings for piano accordion and a rather splendid high-flying one for piccolo!) This arrangement for euphonium is bound to delight!
Programme notes and articles by Peter Case for South Holland Concerts.
We are grateful to the artist for specialised information included in some of the above notes.
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