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Tasmin Little plays a symphony that is really a violin concerto - and which inspired Tchaikovsky to write his.
Tonight's concert opens with Mozart's Flute and Harp Concerto in C major, whose central slow movement must surely be one of the most glorious melodies not just in Mozart’s output but, possibly, in all music. Written as it was for a father and daughter combination to play (Mozart was trying, yet seemingly failing by all accounts, to teach composition to the daughter of the Duc de Guines), it represents the only time Mozart ventured to write for the unwieldy harp.
The Piano Concerto in F minor by Sigismond Thalberg (1812-1871) is a relatively early work from a brilliant pianist who toured as far as the Americas, playing concerts in Brazil and Havana and giving more than 50 recitals in New York, with a repertoire made up mainly of his own compositions. His career as a virtuoso continued until 1863, when he retired near Naples, to occupy himself primarily with his vineyards.
Gerald Finzi's 5 Bagatelles are beautiful short pieces for clarinet and orchestra which have become Classic FM favourites. Four of the five pieces were first performed together at one of the renowned National Gallery daily lunchtime concerts in 1943 that did so much to lift the spirits of war-weary Londoners. The pieces demonstrate Finzi's particular skill at exploiting the clarinet's full range and varied tones.
The Symphonie espagnole in D minor by Édouard Lalo was written in 1874 for violinist Pablo de Sarasate, and premiered in Paris in February 1875. Although called a 'Spanish Symphony', it is considered a violin concerto by musicians today. The piece has Spanish motifs throughout, and launched a period when Spanish-themed music came into vogue. It also had some influence on the genesis of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto; Tchaikovsky had played the piece through with a favourite pupil and it gave him the idea of writing his violin concerto.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Flute & Harp Concerto in C major K.299
Flute: Jacques Zoon
Harp: Letizia Belmondo
Claudio Abbado conducts Orchestra Mozart
Sigismond Thalberg: Piano Concerto in F minor Opus 5
Howard Shelley directs the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra from the piano
Gerald Finzi: 5 Bagatelles Opus 23
Clarinet: Emma Johnson
Piano: Malcolm Martineau
Edouard Lalo: Symphonie Espagnole Opus 21
Violin: Tasmin Little
Vernon Handley conducts Royal Scottish National Orchestra