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BBC National Orchestra of Wales-Andrew Constantine: Bio

British conductor Andrew Constantine currently serves as music director of both the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra and Reading Symphony Orchestra in the United States and was previously associate conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He began his conducting career in Leicester with the Bardi Orchestra and was later awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music degree by the University of Leicester for his services to music. After winning the first Donatella Flick Conducting Competition he studied at the Leningrad State Conservatory with the legendary teacher Ilya Musin who described him as a "brilliant representative of the conducting art", and at the Academia Chigiana in Siena. Prior to his move to the US in 2004 he had already gained an enviable reputation as a conductor of great style and charisma, and also performed and recorded with most of the prestigious London orchestras including the Philharmonia, London Symphony and Royal Philharmonic. With a strong commitment to education and to bringing great music to as wide an audience as possible, Andrew Constantine has developed numerous creative and innovative programmes and was awarded a British NESTA Fellowship in recognition of his achievements.

Versatile British actor Timothy West, noted for his great power and command of both stage and screen was born in 1934 in Bradford, England. The son of actors he first appeared on stage in 1956 at the Wimbledon Theatre in a production of Summertime. He made his London debut at the Piccadilly Theatre in the comical farce Caught Napping in 1959 and soon after began to appear with the Royal Shakespeare Company building an enviable reputation for his depiction of such characters as Falstaff, Lear and Macbeth.

Work on television has brought him equal acclaim, particularly for his portrayals of such figures as Edward VII in Edward the King and also Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, Martin Luther and even the conductor Sir Thomas Beecham. On film he has earned distinction for roles in Nicholas and Alexandra, The Day of the Jackal, and Cry Freedom amongst many others.

Together with his wife, the actress/comedienne Prunella Scales, he has appeared on stage over the years in such productions as When We Are Married, A Long Day's Journey Into Night, The Birthday Party and The External. Timothy West is also a gifted raconteur and the author of several books, including I'm Here I Think, Where are You? In 1984, he was made Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his services to the acting profession and is also the recipient of honorary doctorates from six different universities.

Celebrated actor and director Samuel West has played Hamlet and Richard II for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Valentine in the first production of Tom Stoppard's Arcadia at the National Theatre, Jeffrey Skilling in Enron in the West End and the voice of Pongo in Disney's 101 Dalmations II. His television credits include W1A, The Hollow Crown II, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, CambridgeSpies, The Chronicles of Narnia and four series of Mr Selfridge. On film he can be seen in Darkest Hour, On Chesil Beach, Suffragette, Van Helsing, Notting Hill, Persuasion, Zeffirelli's Jane Eyre and Hyde Park on Hudson. He was nominated for a BAFTA for Howards End.

As a reciter, West has appeared with orchestras all over the world and at the BBC Proms six times; he was soloist in Walton's Henry V at the 2002 Last Night.

He has directed thirteen plays and two operas and was from 2005 to 2007 the artistic director of Sheffield Theatres, where he revived The Romans in Britain.

Sam is an Associate Artist of the RSC, a trustee of the Belarus Free Theatre and Chair of the National Campaign for the Arts. He lives in London with his partner, the playwright Laura Wade, and their two daughters. In his spare time he grows chillies and goes birdwatching.

American violinist Erik Chapman hails from Amarillo, Texas and is currently a member of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He studied at the Juilliard School in New York and, prior to this, in Boston at the New England Conservatory.

Billy Wiz was born in the Kingdom of Fife, Scotland. He studied Applied Human Communication and Media in Manchester and has many years of experience working in music and film production. He currently lives and works in London.

BBC National Orchestra of Wales-Andrew Constantine

Elgar, Chadwick

Orchid Classics

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1 Sir Edward Elgar: Falstaff - Symphonic Study in C minor, Op.68  
2 Falstaff and Prince Henry 3.02  
3 What's the matter? 3.28  
4 Eastcheap the robbery at Gadshill - The Boar?s Head ? revelry and sleep 13.25  
5 Dream interlude: Jack Falstaff 2.37  
6 Come, sir, which men shall I have? 1.43  
7 Falstaff's March 4.12  
8 Interlude: Shallow's orchard 2.44  
9 Sir John, thy tender lambkin now is king 2.24  
10 King Henry V's progress 9:25  
11 George Whitefield Chadwick: Intro Tam O'Shanter 4.32  
12 Tam O'Shanter 4.32  

Many of you might be coming to Elgar's great masterpiece Falstaff for the very first time – I truly hope so! It has, undeniably, had a harder time working its way into the consciousness of the ‘Elgar-lover' than most of his other great works. Often I've felt that this is a question that the cognoscenti simply don't want to wrestle with; ‘how could it possibly be a challenge to comprehend'' Well, perhaps it's simply down to the fact that there is a dramatic and wordless narrative that is, initially, difficult to grasp. As Elgar himself identified the four main sections of the work in his note on Falstaff, and also the sections of the Shakespearean drama that they represent, it seemed a logical extension to me to contextualize the music by adding passages of dialogue from the great bard's, and Elgar's, inspiration,Henry IV Part 1 and Part 2. With the wonderful contributions of Timothy West and Samuel West, I feel rather vindicated in this view, and I very much hope that its inclusion enhances your enjoyment of this musical masterpiece.

Crossover Media Projects with: BBC National Orchestra of Wales-Andrew Constantine