'Simple Gifts' Aaron Copland
Schubert's sixth symphony launches a concert of classical greats.
Tonight's concert opens with Schubert's Symphony No.6. The composer was only 21 when he wrote it but it is nevertheless a highly accomplished work, inspired by many different influences. There's a taste of Haydn at the start of the first movement, some mock Beethoven, and Rossini-like scales for the woodwind in the finale - but it all somehow sounds uniquely Schubertian.
By 1775 — two years after he wrote his first violin concerto — Mozart had completed all five of them, all identically scored, each one increasingly more sophisticated than the one before. The Violin Concerto No. 2 is very much in the elegant French gallant style of the day. Mozart had learned it as a seven-year old when he was taken to the court of Louis XV at Versailles.
Gerald Finzi started writing Eclogue in the late 1920s but never got round to completing it. He originally wanted to write a grand piano concerto but, when he failed to finish it, he reworked the material so that it could be played on its own. Even then, it was never performed until after Finzi's death.
Tchaikovsky's Symphony No.3 in D major got its nickname - the Polish - from the conductor August Manns who spent most of his life in Britain but was actually born into a German family in what is now Poland. Manns, who led the first London performance of the symphony in 1899, was probably excited by the polonaise rhythms of the finale where Tchaikovsky pulls out all the stops.
Franz Schubert: Symphony No.6 in C major
Thomas Zehetmair conducts the Royal Northern Sinfonia
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Violin Concerto No.2 in D major
Violin: Julia Fischer
Yakov Kreizburg conducts the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra
Gerald Finzi: Eclogue
Piano: Howard Shelley
Richard Hickox conducts the City of London Sinfonia
Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.3 in D major (‘Polish’)
Lorin Maazel conducts the Vienna Phliharmonic Orchestra