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Two great works by English composers feature on tonight’s Concert: Finzi’s Clarinet Concerto and A London Symphony by Vaughan Williams.
Tonight's concert opens with the overture to The Beautiful Galatea by Franz von Suppé. In the early 1860s, French operettas by Offenbach were first presented in Vienna. Franz von Suppé was obliged to compete with them by taking the Viennese tradition and combining it with Offenbach's new style. This operetta - the story of Pygmalion - was Franz von Suppé's first critical success.
Gerald Finzi's Clarinet Concerto in C minor was written during a period immediately following the war years when the composer seemed to gain fresh impetus. It was premiered at the Three Choirs Festival in 1949, taking place that year in Hereford. Sadly, within just a couple of years, Finzi would be told of a fatal illness; he died in 1956 aged 55. His output, though small, is revered more and more every year.
J.S. Bach's Partitas are a set of six harpsichord suites, published from 1726 to 1730. They were the first of his works to be published under his direction and the last - and most technically demanding - set of harpsichord suites he composed. Tonight we hear the first of the suites played on the piano by Christophe Rousset. It's made up of a Praeludium, an Allemande, a Corrente, a Sarabande, two Menuets and a Gigue.
A London Symphony, which closes our Concert tonight, was the second symphony composed by Vaughan Williams. It was composed from 1912 to 1913 and dedicated to Vaughan Williams's fellow composer George Butterworth who had encouraged Vaughan Williams to write a purely orchestral symphony. The work was first performed on 27 March 1914 and shortly afterwards the composer sent the score to the conductor Fritz Busch in Germany, but it disappeared in the upheaval of the outbreak of World War I. The composer had to reconstruct the score from the orchestral parts, and it was performed again in 1915 by the Bournemouth Municipal Orchestra.
Franz von Suppe: The Beautiful Galathea – Overture
Charles Dutoit conducts the Montreal Symphony Orchestra
Gerald Finzi: Clarinet Concerto in C minor Opus 31
Clarinet: Sarah Williamson
David Curtis conducts the Orchestra of the Swan
Johann Sebastian Bach: Partita No.1 in B-flat major BWV.825
Piano: Richard Goode
Ralph Vaughan Williams: A London Symphony
Roger Norrington conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra