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In her final look back at the 2014 Classic FM Hall of Fame, Jane Jones plays Dvorak’s Cello Concerto and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.5.
The curtain rises on tonight's concert with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 's bustling overture to his opera, Così fan tutte. The title literally means "Thus do all [women]", but is often rendered as "Women are like that". For the opera, Mozart and his librettist Da Ponte use the time-honoured theme of fiancée swapping and the overture reflects the shenanigans to come.
Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 in E minor is cyclical in nature, with a recurring main theme which is heard in all four movements, a feature Tchaikovsky had first used in the Manfred Symphony two years earlier. The theme takes a funereal character in the first movement, but gradually transforms into a triumphant march, which dominates the final movement. The changing character of the theme over the course of the symphony seems to imply the composer was in an optimistic state of mind.
Allegri was a devout catholic, trained as a priest, who worked with the Vatican’s Papal Choir right up until his death. He was described as ‘a model of priestly peace and humility, a father to the poor, the consoler of captives and the forsaken, a self-sacrificing help and rescuer of suffering humanity’. Tonight we hear his haunting Miserere .
Like the New World Symphony, Dvorak's Cello Concerto is another work hailing from the composer’s American period and is infused with the same sense of homesick longing that pervades the symphony. Yet there is far more to the Cello Concerto than initially meets the ear. Homesickness tells only half the tale. With Dvořák in America was his wife, Anna, whom he had married only after courting and being turned down by her elder sister, Josefina. At that time, he had started but not finished an early cello concerto, an expression of his love. Now, in America, he learned that Josefina was seriously ill – and began another cello concerto. Into it, he wove Josefina’s favourite of his songs, called ‘Leave Me Alone’. It is heard most achingly in the wonderful slow movement.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Cosi fan Tutte – Overture
René Jacobs conducts Concerto Köln
Peter Illich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.5 in E minor
Daniel Barenboim conducts the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra
Gregorio Allegri: Miserere
David Flood conducts the choir of Canterbury Cathedral
Antonin Dvorak: Cello Concerto in B minor
Cello: Jamie Walton
Vladimir Ashkenazy conducts the Philharmonia Orchestra