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A great symphony, literally, rounds off tonight's Full Works Concert.
George Frideric Handel's Concerto Grosso in Bb major Opus 3 No.1 was the first of six concerti grossi which were compiled into a set and published in 1734 initially without Handel's knowledge. His publisher, seeking to take advantage of the commercial success of Corelli's Opus 6 Concerti Grossi, simply combined several of the composer's already existing works and grouped them together into a set. The first and probably earliest concerto of the set is scored for two recorders, two oboes, two bassoons, strings and continuo.
The 2007 Concerto for Piano and Orchestra by Nigel Hess was commissioned by HRH the Prince of Wales, in memory of his grandmother Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. The concerto was first performed by Lang Lang in July 2007, at a concert in the Church of St James the Great, Castle Acre, Norfolk, organised by the charity Music in Country Churches. It is Lang Lang's recording we hear tonight.
Schubert’s Symphony No.9 was referred to in his own letters as ‘a grand symphony’, and concert-goers tend to agree that it is almost an hour of pure musical majesty. It was written just three years before the composer died, sketched over what must have felt like almost a born-again summer. His ill-health had suddenly and unexpectedly gone into remission; throughout 1825, when the Great was written, Schubert appeared to be completely well. Cue the huge, grand symphony, full of fresh life – arguably more powerful than any of his others. Here was a man who, sadly wrongly, thought he was cured. The fourth movement Allegro vivace is simply breathtaking, in the right hands.
George Frideric Handel: Concerto Grosso in Bb major Opus 3 No.1
Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducts Concentus Musicus Vienna
Nigel Hess: Piano Concerto
Piano: Lang Lang
Christopher Warren-Green conducts the London Chamber Orchestra
Franz Schubert: Symphony No.9 in C major (‘Great’)
Neville Marriner conducts the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields