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Favourites by Sibelius and Schubert, a haunted house by Boccherini, and a lesser-known Bruch Violin Concerto are the highlights of tonight's Concert.
Our Concert starts tonight with Sibelius' Karelia Suite. In 1893 the composer wrote several works for a patriotic historical pageant by students of the University of Helsinki in Viipuri, Karelia. The composer subsequently compiled this suite of three pieces from the pageant's incidental music. He held the Karelia province in particular affection; in earlier years he had been inspired by its folk music, and later he was to spend his honeymoon there.
The Impromptus are a series of eight pieces for solo piano that Schubert composed in 1827. They were published in two sets of four pieces each: the first, which we hear tonight, was published in the composer's lifetime as opus 90, with the name being given to the pieces by the publisher. It is said that Schubert was deeply influenced in writing these pieces by the work of Jan Václav Voříšek, an early Romantic composer from Bohemia.
A Baroque interlude follows with the lively Flute Concerto in G major by Georg-Philipp Telemann. Karl Kaiser directs Camerata Cologne from the flute.
Luigi Boccherini's Symphony No.4 in D minor is subtitled 'La Casa del diavolo' - 'House of the Devil.' It's a piece that begins with great drama and foreboding, and continues through the second movement with the feeling of someone tiptoeing around in the dark house, trying not to be discovered. The work ends with rushing motifs and shrill high notes that suggest the ghoulish inhabitants of the house are out to get you.
The Violin Concerto No.2 by Max Bruch - pictured - always sits in the shadow of his evergreen first, but this second one is also full of fine melodies. Premiered at Crystal Palace in November 1877 with the great Pablo de Sarasate as the soloist, the work is powerful, expansive and deeply rewarding. It's an unusual work because of its slow first movement and it will probably never reach the heights of the phenomenally successful first concerto. But that by no means suggests it’s not an accomplished and hugely enjoyable work.
Jean Sibelius: Karelia Suite Opus 11
Pietari Inkinen conducts the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
Franz Schubert: 4 Impromptus D.899 Opus 90
Piano: Murray Perahia
Georg-Philipp Telemann: Flute Concerto in G major
Karl Kaiser directs Camerata Cologne from the flute
Luigi Boccherini: Symphony No.4 in D minor Opus 12 'La Casa del diavolo'
Fabio Biondi directs Europa Galante
Max Bruch: Violin Concerto No.2 in D minor Opus 44
Violin: Itzhak Perlman
Zubin Mehta conducts the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra