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A unique recording of Schumann by Claudio Abbado is the climax of tonight's Concert.
Tonight's concert opens with George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. In 1924, the American bandleader Paul Whiteman wanted to prove that jazz styles could have as much clout as the classics by staging a concert which he labeled an 'experiment in modern music'. Gershwin was commissioned to write a piece for solo piano and jazz band combining elements of classical music with jazz-influenced styles. The piece put Gershwin firmly on the map. It's played tonight by the pianist David Greilsammer.
Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue: The story behind a hastily-composed masterpiece >
Mozart's own score of his Divertimento in D major is dated July 1776. It has been suggested that the work might well have been written to celebrate the name-day on 26 July of Mozart’s sister, Nannerl, to be played on the eve of St Anne’s feast-day. Mozart referred to this custom in a letter in July 1778 when he expressed regret that he could not mark the occasion as he sometimes had done.
Debussy started to compose his famous Suite Bergamasque in 1890 at the age of 28, as he struggled to make ends meet in what was considered to be his more Bohemian period. He finally finished writing it all of 15 years later. But it's a good job he revised it so heavily before it was published, as it contains some of the most famous music written by the composer. Still, some confusion remains over what was composed originally in 1890 and what in 1905. In those intervening years, the movement 'Pavane' had been retitled 'Passepied', and the 'Promenade Sentimentale' became the famous 'Clair de lune'. Today the work consists of four movements: a lively contrasting 'Prélude', a playful comedic 'Menuet', the gorgeous 'Clair de lune' and the staccato 'Passepied'. It's played tonight in a harp arrangement.
To mark his 80th birthday, Claudio Abbado (pictured) and his Orchestre Mozart recorded Robert Schumann's Symphony No.2 in C major. The album marked a departure from their ongoing exploration of the music of Mozart. It was also the first time Abbado had recorded a Schumann symphony for Deutsche Grammophon. When they performed the symphony at Lucerne's Easter Festival, one critic extolled their reading as of 'the purest beauty', while another found it 'liberating'.
George Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue
Piano: David Greilsammer
Steven Sloane conducts the Philharmonic Orchestra of Radio France
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Divertimento in D major K.251 (Nannerl) Septet
Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducts Concentus Musicus Vienna
Claude Debussy: Suite Bergamasque
Harp: Xavier De Maistre
Robert Schumann: Symphony No.2 in C major Opus 61
Claudio Abbado conducts Orchestra Mozart