Verdi, Bloch & Rachmaninov

Han Mizuta-Spencer, with violin

Photo: Foppe Schut ©

Saturday 16 March 2024, 7:30pm
Oxford Town Hall

Verdi - Overture to La Forza del Destino
Bloch - Violin Concerto
Rachmaninov - Symphonic Dances

Hana Mizuta-Spencer violin
Robert Max conductor

Verdi's overture to the opera La Forza del Destino (The Force of Destiny), with its powerful opening chords, reflects the life-and-death drama within the opera. The rest of the overture features several of the tunes from the opera, which contains wars, deception, duels and doomed love.

Bloch was a talented young violinist, born in Switzerland, who worked as a clock maker and later emigrated to America, where he pursued composition. Much of his work contains Hebrew influences, but this concerto also features melodic inspiration from Native American music.

Rachmaninov wrote his Symphonic Dances as an orchestral suite in three movements, and this was his final composition before his death in 1943. The first movement has purposeful energy and features a Russian-style solo for the alto saxophone. The second movement is more eerie, featuring a ghostly ballroom waltz. The final dance is more intense, setting a Russian Orthodox chant theme against a "Dies Irae", resulting in what could be interpreted as a triumph of life over death.

Tickets: £16, Over 60s £14, Accompanied under 16s FREE
Students aged 16-25 and those in receipt of benefits £5
from Tickets Oxford at Oxford Playhouse 01865 305305
 Book now 

Oxford Town Hall - "a Victorian Gem, good for concerts" (Trip Advisor)
Google map and directions

You can download the image of the poster for this concert. March 2024 concert poster