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Bishop's Stortford Sinfonia to perform Rachmaninoff's Symphony No.2 plus 'hidden gems' by Dorothy Howell

For their winter concert this year, the forces of Bishop’s Stortford Sinfonia will swell to their largest ever number for a performance of one of the most Romantic symphonies in the repertoire.

Without doubt one of Rachmaninoff's crowning glories, his Symphony No.2 takes the listener on a thrilling rollercoaster of emotions, featuring some of the most heart-rending melodies he ever wrote.

Sinfonia artistic director Simon Gilliver said: "Players love playing Rachmaninoff – it's such wonderfully crafted music that each time you revisit it you discover a new facet you hadn’t previously noticed.

"However, his true genius is in his communication to all who hear his music. You really don’t have to understand how he creates it – his music effortlessly reaches out and casts an unforgettable spell on everyone from the first time they hear it."

The Sinfonia take particular pleasure in sharing new discoveries with their audiences. To contrast Rachmaninoff’s much-loved symphony in the second half, their concert at Bishop's Stortford College's Memorial Hall on January 25 will open with two undiscovered gems from 20th-century English composer Dorothy Howell, her Humoresque and Divertissements.

She achieved widespread acclaim early in her career with her most famous works, ‘Lamia’ and her Piano Concerto, the former becoming a regular feature at the BBC Proms. But he scores of her Humoresque and Divertissements were lost during her lifetime and have only just been rediscovered. The music is immediately approachable, full of vibrant colour and imagination. They are true hidden gems – this is one of their first performances and they are yet to be recorded.

Once again, Stortford caterer Brohmon will be providing delicious authentic Indian food before the concert, in the college's Ferguson Lecture Theatre. Audiences are welcome to join Sinfonia members for a pre-concert dinner from 6pm, with both chicken and vegan curries on offer.

* Tickets for the concert on Saturday January 25, which starts at 7.30pm, cost £17 (£5 for students, free to children under 18) on the door or in advance from www.bishopsstortfordsinfonia.com. Full-price tickets are available for £15 if bought online by midnight on January 22.

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