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Bedfordshire Symphony Orchestra

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  • Sat 11 Nov7:30pmBook

Telephone bookings please call01234 718044

The opera Les Francs-Juges was the first work Berlioz wrote for orchestra and although the complete score is now lost, the overture survived as a successful concert piece in its own right and is the earliest of his compositions to retain a place in the repertoire today. The work is set in Mediaeval Germany, and the title literally means “The Free Judges”, referring to the secret Vehmic trials held in the region during the late Middle Ages. The plot, with its stormy passions and theme of rescue from oppression, offered Berlioz the opportunity to compose a work in the style of the French Revolutionary operas by Méhul and Cherubini.


In 1950, following one of the rehearsals of Reinhold Glière’s ballet The Bronze Horseman at the Bolshoi Theatre, the conductor, Yuri Fayer introduced Glière to the horn player Valery Polekh. The composer praised the performance of the horn section of the orchestra and added “Such a remarkable instrument, and how regrettable that composers rarely write for it.” Polekh immediately interjected “Write a concerto for us.  You are so familiar with the capabilities of the horn.”

The resulting work premiered in May 1951 in the Grand Hall of the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra, with Polekh as soloist. Although rarely performed today, Glière’s tuneful and demanding Horn Concerto was a huge success, and the finale was repeated as an encore.


Although Vaughan Williams would have preferred that his second symphony had been subtitled ‘by a Londoner’ rather than ‘A London Symphony’, it is, non-the-less, about what was around him – the sights, sounds, and moods of the great metropolis. Listeners will recognise suggestions of such things as the Westminster Chimes, the Lavender Cry, and, in the third movement, the noteworthy sounds of the buskers’ harmonica and accordion (imitated by muted horn and strings). This atmospheric four-movement orchestral portrait is an affectionate, teemingly detailed orchestral portrayal of the composer’s much-loved adopted city.


Conductor: Uwe Radok

Horn soloist: Daniel Curzon



  1. Berlioz –– Overture Les Francs-Juges
  2. Glière –– Horn Concerto
  3. Vaughan Williams –– Symphony No. 2 (A London Symphony)
Main Auditorium, St Paul’s Square, Bedford MK40 1SL
Main Auditorium
Tiered and Stalls
Ticket Prices
Show Date & Time
Sat 11th Nov7:30pm
Opening Times
Bar & Box Office7:00 pm
Doors7:00 pm
Book Now
  • Sat 11 Nov7:30pmBook

Telephone bookings please call01234 718044

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All online bookings are subject to a £3.15 transaction fee. All bookings over £8.00 made in person or via telephone are subject to a £2.12 transaction fee. This fee is applicable per booking, not per ticket. VAT is included in the price of all tickets purchased on our website or via the Box Office.

In common with general theatre practice, we regret that tickets cannot be exchanged or refunded after purchase, except where a show is cancelled. We can accept your tickets for resale, but the venue’s unsold tickets will take priority. A charge of £1.00 will be made if tickets are sold on your behalf.

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To avoid disturbing the audience and performers, latecomers to some shows may not be admitted until a suitable break in the performance.

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