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Music tonight includes tributes to Sir Arthur Sullivan and the violinist Tasmin Little on their birthdays.
Tonight's Concert opens with a birthday tribute to Sir Arthur Sullivan who was born on this day in 1842. Sullivan was in the habit of leaving the writing of the overtures to his operettas until the last moment, sketching them out and entrusting them to a music director to complete. It helped to have completed the whole operetta first so Sullivan could put all the big tunes into the overture. In the case of The Pirates of Penzance, which we hear tonight, the overture contains such popular tunes as 'With cat-like tread' and 'How beautifully blue the sky'.
Mendelssohn claimed to have been inspired to write his 'Scottish' Symphony during his first visit to Britain in 1829. After a series of successful performances in London, Mendelssohn embarked on a walking tour of Scotland with his companion Karl Klingemann. On 30 July, they visited the ruins of a chapel at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, where he had his initial idea for the symphony. He described the experience in a letter, in which he included a draft of the symphony's opening theme. After completing the Hebrides overture, Mendelssohn continued to work on his initial sketches of what would become Symphony No. 3 while touring Italy, but he set the piece aside for ten years before completing it in January 1842. Although it was the fifth and final of Mendelssohn's symphonies to be completed, it was the third to be published, and has subsequently been known as Symphony No. 3.
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, whose 300th anniversary is being marked this year, created oboe concertos from transcriptions of harpsichord concertos. Tonight we hear Heinz Holliger directing Camerata Bern from the oboe in Bach's Oboe Concerto in Eb.
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's symphonic poem Francesca da Rimini was composed in less than three weeks during the composer's visit to Bayreuth in the autumn of 1876. In it, Tchaikovsky presents a symphonic interpretation of the tragic tale of a beauty who was immortalized in Dante's Divine Comedy. This, perhaps more than any other of Tchaikovsky's works, shows the possible influence of Franz Liszt, both musically and in terms of subject matter, and Richard Wagner, whose music dramas Tchaikovsky had traveled to Bayreuth to review.
Arthur Sullivan: The Pirates of Penzance – Overture
Alexander Faris conducts the Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Arvo Part: Spiegel im Spiegel
Violin: Tasmin Little
Piano: Martin Roscoe
Felix Mendelssohn: Symphony No.3 in A minor Opus 56 ‘Scottish’
Claudio Abbado conducts the London Symphony Orchestra
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: Oboe Concerto in E-flat major H.468
Heinz Holliger directs Camerata Bern from the oboe
Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky: Francesca da Rimini Opus 32
Antonio Pappano conducts the Orchestra of the Academy of St. Cecilia