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The 'most nearly perfect' of Brahms' symphonies is the highlight of tonight's Concert.
Tonight's concert begins with fifth of J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concertos. In the spring of 1721, the composer was contemplating changing jobs and, after a chance meeting with the Margrave of Brandenburg, Bach sent him a set of six concertos that he had already written - possibly as a kind of audition. The Margrave appears to have completely ignored the gift and the set were discarded in his library until his death in 1734. Luckily for posterity, they were found in the Brandenburg archives during the 19th century and are now integral works in the Baroque repertoire.
Lux Aurumque by Eric Whitacre is based on a Latin poem which translates as 'Light, warm and heavy as pure gold.' This modern choral classic became known through the composer's Virtual Choir project in 2009. The video which mixed individual recordings by 185 singers from 12 countries caused a colossal on-line rush in interest when it was uploaded in 2011, and has been clicked on YouTube than three million times since.
The second of Giacomo Puccini's 1892 pieces, 3 Minuets for string quartet, provided the composer with the opening theme for his opera Manon Lescaut. It's already possible in this student work to hear Puccini developing a distinctive voice with instrumental colour.
Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 5 in A, often referred to by the nickname the 'Turkish', was composed in 1775 and premiered in Salzburg. Of his five violin concertos, this is the most mature and the most ambitious. It's only in the final movement that the then fashionable Turkish style is heard, with exotic percussion impersonated by the cellos and basses. This movement also boasts one of Mozart’s most witty endings.
The Symphony No.3 in F major by Brahms was written in the summer of 1883, almost six years after he completed his second symphony. In the interim he had written some of his greatest works, including the Violin Concerto and the Second Piano Concerto. Hans Richter, who conducted the premiere of the symphony, proclaimed it to be Brahms' Eroica. The symphony was well received but after each performance, Brahms polished the score further, until it was published in May 1884. His friend and influential music critic Eduard Hanslick said, 'Many music lovers will prefer the titanic force of the First Symphony; others, the untroubled charm of the Second, but the Third strikes me as being artistically the most nearly perfect.'
Johann Sebastian Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No.5 in D major
Piano: Angela Hewitt
Richard Tognetti directs the Australian Chamber Orchestra from the violin
Eric Whitacre: Lux Aurumque
Stephen Layton conducts Polyphony
Giacomo Puccini: 3 Minuets
Riccardo Chailly conducts the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Violin Concerto No.5 in A major
Violin: Anne-Sophie Mutter
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Johannes Brahms: Symphony No.3 in F major
Colin Davis conducts the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra