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The piece of Mozart that captivated Salieri and Schumann's Piano Concerto are among tonight's highlights.
Tonight's Concert opens with Schumann’s Piano Concerto, begun in the year after the composer married Clara (both pictured above) but not finished until 1845. It was premièred and promoted by her in the face of considerable opposition after Schumann died. It’s an unusual work for its time, when the more formulaic concerto would pitch the pianist into a battle for supremacy against the assembled orchestra. This one has some beautifully understated melodies, and although there are passages when the piano reasserts its dominance, there’s no big bravura moment for the soloist to show off flashy fingerwork. Schumann’s intention all along was to demonstrate how the piano and orchestra could work together, and there are some wonderful harmonies that underline those intentions.
Mozart's Gran Partita Serenade is the piece of music performed in the film Amadeus, when Salieri has his first encounter with Mozart. Salieri has not been impressed with Mozart's behavior before the performance, but as he looks at the music on the page, he describes the beauty of the solo oboe's entry followed by the clarinet's line in the third movement, leading him to say, 'This was no composition by a performing monkey. This was a music I'd never heard. Filled with such longing, such unfulfillable longing. It seemed to me that I was hearing the voice of God.'
William Boyce's Symphony No.7 in Bb major. Of all of Boyce's eight symphonies, this was the only one originally composed as an orchestral piece, rather than as part of a vocal or stage work. It was originally known as the Worcester Overture and was probably composed for the Three Choirs Festival which Boyce directed from 1737.
The concert ends with London Landmarks by Haydn Wood (1882-1959), a composer who was given his name because, at the time of his birth, his father had just attended a performance of Haydn’s Creation. The March from this suite was used for many decades as the signature tune to the radio show, Down your Way.
Robert Schumann: Piano Concerto in A minor Opus 54
Piano: Yevgeny Kissin
Colin Davis conducts London Symphony Orchestra
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Gran Partita Serenade K.361
Michael Collins conducts London Winds
William Boyce: Symphony No.7 in Bb major
Christopher Hogwood conducts Academy of Ancient Music
Haydn Wood: London Landmarks
Gavin Sutherland conducts Royal Ballet Sinfonia