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Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert and Saint-Saens are the great composers featured in tonight's concert.
The Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso was written by Saint-Saens (pictured) in 1863 for the virtuoso violinist Pablo de Sarasate. He was a prodigy who, at the age of just 15, commissioned a piece from Saint-Saëns. It became Saint-Saëns' first violin concerto. Four years later, the composer gave Sarasate the Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, inspired by Spanish dance music.
For his first Piano Concerto concerto, Beethoven hadn’t yet decided to champion the idea of the piano and orchestra performing as one, in interweaving dialogue. Instead, there’s a respectful distance between the two; they exist very much as separate voices. At its premiere in Prague, the audience reacted favourably but with surprise – proving that, even when he was starting out, Beethoven was already sowing the seeds of musical revolution and challenging preconceived ideas as to what any given musical structure should contain.
The 17-year old Schubert composed his Second Symphony in 1814. Mozart's influence is undeniable, although the lengthy opening movement is a prelude to what Beethoven would achieve with the symphony. The second movement offers a delicate set of variations followed by a traditional minuet. The work ends with a refined rondo-like classical flourish.
Mozart's Oboe Concerto in C major was originally composed in 1777 for the oboist Giuseppe Ferlendis (1755–1802) from Bergamo, and then reworked by the composer as a concerto for flute in D major in 1778. The concerto is a widely-studied piece for both instruments and is one of the more important concerti for the oboe.
Camille Saint-Saens: Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso
Violin: Kyung-Wha Chung
Charles Dutoit conducts the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concerto No.1 in C major
Piano: Andras Schiff
Bernard Haitink conducts Staatskapelle Dresden
Franz Schubert: Symphony No.2 in B flat major
Riccardo Muti conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Oboe Concerto in C major
Oboe: David Theodore
Richard Hickox conducts the City of London Sinfonia