Hastings Philharmonic



Christopher Cormack on Hastings’ classical music history how Wagner and Rachmaninov became interwoven into the classical music DNA of Hastings’ cultural life.

Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra (HPO) presents a ‘heritage’ concert on 28th January which highlights works by Wagner and Rachmaninov and puts them in the context of Hastings’ history of excellent classical music events. HPO, by becoming ‘orchestra in residence’ at the White Rock Theatre, is proud to emulate the achievements of the Hastings Municipal Orchestra (HMO) in the 1920s and 30s in the same ‘Pavilion’ which was purpose-built for classical music.

Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra, conductor Marcio Da Silva. photo by Peter Mould

HMO music director Julius Harrison facilitated two performances by Rachmaninov at White Rock in the 1930s and also ensured the acoustics of the ‘Pavilion’ were fully demonstrated in numerous BBC live broadcasts and Decca recordings. The HPO January concert features ‘Rach 3’ piano concerto and a 1930s Harrison composition ‘Autumn Landscape’.

Soon after the onset of World War II, Harrison set alight the English press by the suggestion that we desist from Wagner concerts for the duration – eliciting a public response from Hitler himself! Ironic considering that in the Great War, Hastings revelled in a ground breaking production of Wagner’s Tannhäuser presented by HMO’s first music director, Julian Clifford synchronised to the eponymous 1913 silent movie.

What is more, the founder of the London Wagner Society, Edward Dannreuther, subsequently became a longstanding Hastings resident. Local composer Keith Beal, whose 10th Symphony is premiered on the 28th, befriended Dannreuther’s son (Wagner’s godson) and interviewed him in 1969 on his father’s illustrious career as an international concert pianist.

Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra, photo by Peter Mould

For more info visit www.hastingsphilharmonic.com 

pictured at top: Marcio Da Silva conducting Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra. photo by Peter Mould

About Author

Leave A Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: