The Full Works Concert - Thursday 23 January 2014

An impressive but little known symphony by Louis Spohr is the centrepiece of tonight's Concert.

Louis Spohr

Tonight's concert opens with Antonin Dvorak's popular Serenade for Strings, composed in just two weeks in May 1875. It's believed that Dvořák took up this small orchestral genre because it was less demanding than the symphony, but allowed for the provision of pleasure and entertainment. One critic wrote, 'The Serenade was aptly entitled, since at least four of its five movements (the second of which was a delightful waltz) displayed an elegant touch suggestive of gracious living accompanied by ‘serenading’ in the stately home of some 18th-century aristocrat…'

Everybody knows about the nine symphonies of Beethoven but what about the ten written by Louis Spohr (pictured)? Howard Shelley and the Orchestra of Italian Switzerland have dedicated themselves to these little-known symphonies and tonight we hear Sphor's seventh - a work that pushed the boundaries of the genre itself. In the symphony, titled ‘The earthly and divine in human life’ and inspired by a holiday Spohr took in Switzerland, he uses not one but two orchestras to extraordinary effect.

All that was known about Johann Sebastian Bach's lost Concerto for 3 Violins in D major BWV.1064 was that it had been reconstructed as Bach's Concerto for three harpsichords in C major. So musicologists have now reconstructed the original from a reconstruction. The concerto has three movements, with two bright and joyful Allegros sandwiching a touching, slow movement.

The Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22 by Saint-Saëns, was written in 1868. At the première, Saint-Saëns was the soloist and Anton Rubinstein conducted the orchestra. Saint-Saëns wrote the concerto in three weeks, and had very little time to prepare for the première. Hence, the piece was not initially successful - but today it is probably the composer's most popular piano concerto.

 

Antonin Dvorak: Serenade for Strings Opus 22
Alexander Schneider conducts Chamber Orchestra of Europe

Louis Spohr: Symphony No.7 in C major Opus 121
Howard Shelley conducts Orchestra of Italian Switzerland

Johann Sebastian Bach: Concerto for 3 Violins in D major BWV.1064
Violins: Rachel Podger, Bojan Cicic, Johannes Pramsohler
Brecon Baroque

Camille Saint-Saens: Piano Concerto No.2 in G minor Opus 22
Piano: Jean-Yves Thibaudet
Charles Dutoit conducts Orchestra of the Suisse Romande

The Full Works Concert