Beauty and the Beast - Overture Alan Menken
Jane Jones plays more favourite pieces from the 2014 Classic FM Hall of Fame, from Mendelssohn, Bach, Brahms and Beethoven.
Tonight's concert starts with Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture, inspired by the Scottish islands which made a profound impact on the composer (pictured).
The most soulful of all Beethoven’s music is arguably found in his piano concertos. If you need any proof, listen to the middle movement of his Piano Concerto No. 3. There’s a beauty and elegance here that truly confirms Beethoven’s status as the one composer who quickened the pace of change in classical music by welcoming in the Romantic era that was to follow. As was the custom with most of Beethoven’s works for piano, the composer himself performed as soloist on the night of the premiere. His Piano Concerto No. 3 was premiered alongside the oratorio Christ on the Mount of Olives and the Symphony No. 2 and, never one known for his organisational skills, Beethoven performed most of the concerto from memory – not through choice, but because he’d run out of time to transcribe the piano part!
Bach wrote a total of four orchestral suites, the best-known of these being the third. It was written, along with the others, during the last period of his life in Leipzig, around 1731. Bach's definition of 'orchestral' is pretty loose. Suite No. 3 is scored for three instrumental choirs – two oboes, three trumpets, timpani and strings. The Air (the second movement) was transcribed for strings by August Wilhelmj, which made it a party piece playable on only one string of a violin – hence its nickname 'Air on the G string'. It's led scholars to believe the whole suite might have been composed for strings only, which would make it Bach's only known work written solely for four-part strings.
By 1883, when Brahms reached his Third Symphony, he had clearly found his own voice. Sweeping, lyrical string lines and beautifully autumnal woodwind passages make this a delight. It is the composer's most lyrical and, arguably, best crafted symphony, which goes some way towards explaining its enduring popularity. The influential music critic Hanslick said, of all Brahms’s symphonies, the third struck him 'as being artistically the most nearly perfect.'
Felix Mendelssohn: Hebrides Overture, ‘Fingal’s Cave’
Edward Gardner conducts the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concerto No.3 in C minor
Piano: Leif Ove Andsnes
Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Johann Sebastian Bach: Orchestral Suite No.3 in D major
Freiburg Baroque Orchestra
Johannes Brahms: Symphony No.3 in F major
John Eliot Gardiner conducts the Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique