CLASSICAL MUSIC: Birdsong concert at Worthing Assembly Hall

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JOHN Gibbons, conductor of the Worthing Symphony Orchestra, believes there should come a point in every concert when the audience will sit up and think “Now, that’s different!”

That moment will come during the Orchestra’s Birdsong concert at the Assembly Hall, Worthing (Sunday, 2.45pm), when they launch into Finnish composer Rautavaara’s “concerto for birds and orchestra”, his Cantus Arcticus.

“He was up in the Arctic and he recorded birds singing away,” John explains. “It’s like a backing track.

“You have got the birds echoing around the hall.

“The orchestra starts softly and then gradually you hear the birds joining in.

“It just blows people away! You have got birds that make the crake sounds and also twittering.

“It’s a range of sounds, and what you have also got, of course, is the orchestra against it.”

For John, it’s the perfect piece to meet his criterion of always offering something new amid the familiar favourites.

“If you could see my room, you could see all the CDs and the LPs.

“It’s a question of always looking.

“I have been collecting since the age of 12.

“I go around second-hand CD and record shops and buy things for a pound or 50p.”

Of course, you pick up some turkeys along the way: “But if these things have reached the

stage of being recorded, then clearly they must have something about them.”

The rest of the programme is Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending; Beethoven’s Symphony No 6 Pastoral; Delius’ On Hearing The First Cuckoo in Spring; and Holbrooke’s The Birds Of Rhiannon – a programme inspired by the natural world and, in particular, birdsong, most magically captured in Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending.

“The Lark Ascending is an amazing piece of music, but it is not quite what people think it is about. It’s very much a piece about World War One.

“People think it is a very dreamy piece about the English countryside.

“But it is a little bit more shot to pieces than that.

“He was an ambulance driver in the First World War.

“It’s possible it’s a piece about seeking solace.”