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It's St Patrick's Day and Jane Jones has the best of Irish classical music and performers.
Jane Jones marks St Patrick's Day with two hours of Irish music and performers, including the great flautist James Galway, Stanford's 'Irish' Symphony, a piano concerto by John Field, and the beautiful song 'Danny Boy'.
The great Northern Irish flautist James Galway plays Mozart's Flute Concerto in G major. It was written in 1778 for the Dutch flute player Ferdinand De Jean. Mozart was supposed to provide four flute quartets and three flute concertos for De Jean, yet he only completed two of the three concertos.
After a vocal interlude in which Bryn Terfel sings Danny Boy, we hear John Field's Piano Concerto No.1 in Eb major. Field was the inventor of the 'Nocturne' and one of the most celebrated pianist-composers of the early-Romantic age, drawing high praise from Chopin and Schumann. 'Discovered' by Clementi in London in 1794, the 11-year-old Field was given a thorough musical education by the great Italian master, who quickly recognised the boy's talent. Field performed in front of Haydn in London and in 1799, he premiered his Piano Concerto No.1 to huge acclaim, and followed it quickly with the three piano sonatas.
Stanford's Symphony No.3 in F minor, known as the 'Irish' symphony, was very successful after its premiere in 1887, earning the composer an international reputation. It was the most successful British symphony before Elgar's First; in its first year it was heard several times in London and around England as well as in many European cities and in North America. It was even chosen for the opening concert of the new Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. The work's Irish character comes to the fore in the second movement scherzo in which a jig rhythm dominates. There's also the suggestion of a traditional tune identified as the old Irish melody, 'The Lament of the Sons of Usnacht'. In the spirited Finale, Stanford quotes two more Irish tunes, 'Molly McAlpin' and 'Let Erin remember the days of old', stirringly announced on four horns and stimulating the work to end on a triumphant note.
After an early career as a church organist in Ireland, Hamilton Harty moved to London, soon becoming a well-known piano accompanist. Many of his compositions were also well received. Tonight our Concert ends with his Irish Fantasy for violin and piano played by Fionnuala and Una Hunt.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Flute Concerto in G major K.313
Flute: James Galway
Rudolf Baumgartner conducts the Lucerne Festival Strings
Anon: Danny Boy
Bass-baritone: Bryn Terfel
Barry Wordsworth conducts the London Symphony Orchestra
John Field: Piano Concerto No.1 in Eb major
Piano: Miceal O'Rourke
Matthias Bamert conducts the London Mozart Players
Charles Villiers Stanford: Symphony No.3 in F minor Opus 28 'Irish'
Vernon Handley conducts Ulster Orchestra
Hamilton Harty: Irish Fantasy
Violin: Fionnuala Hunt
Piano: Una Hunt