Saffron Walden Symphony Orchestra is holding their next concert in July, with a focus on music designed to inspire audiences.

The concert opens with Felix Mendelssohn's Ruy Blas Overture - named after fictional poet Ruy Blas, who was the subject of Victor Hugo's tragic drama of the same name.

Mendelssohn, who lived from 1809 to 1847, was invited to write an overture and a song in 1839 to help boost ticket sales.

The piece is considered to be a great concert opener, with memorable melodies, an energetic tempo and dramatic texture changes.

Following the overture, the orchestra will perform Paul Hindemith's symphony Mathis der Maler.

Saffron Walden Reporter: The Saffron Walden Symphony Orchestra in rehearsalThe Saffron Walden Symphony Orchestra in rehearsal (Image: SWSO)

Hindemith (1895-1963) was a German composer, music theorist, teacher, violinist and conductor. The symphony contains music taken from his opera about the life and work of Renaissance painter Matthias Grünewald.

Grünewald juxtaposed religious serenity with depictions of suffering in 16th century Germany during the peasant uprising, which was prompted by the Reformation.

The symphony is in three movements, each depicting one of Grünewald's religious paintings. 

Conductor Richard Hull said: "Hindemith is an unusual composer to be tackled by amateur orchestras.

"The music is very demanding to play, often virtuosic and he occasionally uses the orchestra like a very large piano making it hard to coordinate.

"However, this symphony is full of wonderful melodies, lush orchestration and rhythmic excitement.


"I am very much looking forward to introducing the Saffron Walden audience to this little-known masterpiece."

The concert concludes with Tchaikovsky's Symphony No.4, which was written between 1877 and 1878 and reflects his associations with two women, his patron Nadezhda von Meck and his wife Antonina Millukova.

The catastrophic marriage lasted only 16 days, after which Tchaikovsky tried to secure a divorce. The first movement demonstrates his emotional turmoil, while the second is folk-like and melancholic.

Meanwhile the famous scherzo (a short composition) offers a light relief before the symphony finishes in a blaze of glory.

The concert takes place at 3pm on Sunday, July 2 in Saffron Hall.

Tickets are available from the box office at 0845 548 7650 or can be bought online at