BEETHOVEN was incredibly only 24 when he penned his mammoth third symphony the Eroica. Originally dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte, his name rapidly erased when Napoleon proclaimed himself Emperor, the Eroica is regarded as the flagship for all symphonies ever since.
The East Sussex Youth Orchestra was founded by celebrated conductor Colin Metters in 1979 and the enthusiasm and professionalism of the 72 young instrumentalists at the De La Warr Pavilion are witness to his dedication, and the devotion of the music service tutors.
The Eroica is half as long again as most symphonies, the first movement, Allegro con brio (with vigour and fire) beginning with a horn solo. The second movement Adagio assai, slow and solemn, is sometimes used on its own at state funerals. In contrast the third movement the Scherzo was light-hearted, almost playful, with the percussion of Fred Beer to the fore, with the finale the Allegro molto (very fast) living up to its name to end with rapturous applause from the capacity audience.
A highly different opening was the latest composition of music service director Tony Biggin, a ‘sound-picture’ of the Sussex scene as he has come to know and love it. His Sussex Overture depicted crashing waves on the Seven Sisters, evoked by the cymbals of Alison Sigsworth and the percussion of Louise Melhuish and Katherine Miles. Then came a bright melody featuring flutes and clarinets, leading to a contemplative sequence.
In the space of two hours, we heard a star musician of the past, a star musician of the present and a star musician of future. What more could anyone ask?