The Full Works Concert - Thursday 1 January 2015

For many, New Year’s Day is about nursing a hangover, or clearing up after the night before. But Catherine Bott is still in the mood for a party, so join her for a sparkling selection of music, played in full.

Rodeo Aaron Copland

2015 on the Full Works Concert opens with Dmitri Shostakovich's Festive Overture. It was begun by the composer in 1947 to mark the 30th anniversary of the 1917 October Revolution which brought Lenin's Bolshevik party to power and deposed the ruling Romanov dynasty. But soon afterwards Shostakovich became a victim of Stalin's cultural commissar and was branded as a peddler of 'the cult of atonality, dissonance and discord.' The Overture was not premiered till 1954, after Stalin's death, and Shostakovich had to pretend he had only just written it.

Beethoven 's Triple Concerto in C major was composed in 1803 and is the only concerto Beethoven ever wrote for more than one solo instrument. It was reportedly written for Beethoven's pupil, the Archduke Rudolf, who became an accomplished pianist under the composer's instruction. But there is no record of Rudolf ever performing the work — it was not publicly premiered until 1808 and when it came to be published, the concerto bore a dedication to a different patron: Prince Lobkowitz.

Aaron Copland wrote Rodeo (pictured) in 1942 when the American choreographer Agnes de Mille asked him to write music for a new ballet set on a ranch. Having already composed Billy the Kid four years earlier, Copland was reluctant to accept another wild west ballet commission. But de Mille persuaded him by promising that her work would strike a different tone than Billy. Rodeo tells the simple story of a cowgirl who competes for the attention of young ranch hands. Her search for romance culminates at a Saturday night barn dance, where she finally gains a suitor. Rodeo was an instant hit and Copland adapted a concert suite of four dances from his ballet score which has remained a popular concert piece ever since.

John Rutter's Gloria was written as a concert work. It was commissioned by the Voices of Mel Olson, Omaha, Nebraska, and the composer directed the first performance on the occasion of his first visit to the United States in May 1974. The Latin text, drawn from the Ordinary of the Mass, is a centuries-old challenge to the composer: exalted, devotional and jubilant by turns. Rutter’s setting, which is based mainly on one of the Gregorian chants associated with the text, divides into three movements roughly corresponding to traditional symphonic structure. The accompaniment is for brass ensemble with timpani, percussion and organ – a combination which in the outer movements makes quite a joyful noise unto the Lord, but which is used more softly and introspectively in the middle movement. The composer later made a version with full orchestra.


Dmitri Shostakovich: Festive Overture

Riccardo Muti conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra

Ludwig van Beethoven: Triple Concerto
Violin: Tasmin Little
Cello: Tim Hugh
Howard Shelley directs the Orchestra of Opera North

Aaron Copland: Rodeo – 4 Dance Episodes
David Zinman conducts the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

John Rutter: Gloria
John Rutter conducts the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble with The Cambridge Singers

Joseph Haydn: Symphony No.30 in C major (‘Alleluia’)
Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducts Concentus Musicus, Vienna

Jerry Goldsmith: Fireworks
Jerry Goldsmith conducts the London Symphony Orchestra

The Full Works Concert