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Beethoven's first symphony provides the dramatic climax to tonight's Concert.
Tonight's concert opens with Rossini's overture to La Cenerentola. This opera, based on the story of Cinderella, was first performed in Rome in January 1817. Written when Rossini was 25 years old, following the success of The Barber of Seville the year before, the opera was completed in just three weeks - but he did cut corners: the fizzing overture was lifted from one of his previous operas, La gazzetta.
Composing music in G minor might not sound like a controversial musical decision, but it was unusual at the time when Mozart wrote his 25th symphony. With wide leaps in the tunes, and brisk rhythms in the strings, it's part of Mozart’s Sturm und Drang (storm and stress) music.
Bruch’s Serenade in A minor for violin and orchestra was written in 1900, and demonstrates the composer’s command of writing for the solo violin, in which he had once had the help of his friend and colleague Joseph Joachim. It's a deeply romantic work over which the spirits of Schumann and Mendelssohn often seem to loom.
Written when Beethoven was only 25, his first symphony is, it's fair to say, a little bit backwards-facing. The influence of Haydn and Mozart are very plain in the melodies (especially in one that he took directly from Haydn), but there are a few hints of the greatness to come, the greatness that was Beethoven's alone. The opening is pretty bizarre, starting in a different key from the key of the symphony as a whole. Just another example of Beethoven breaking the mould - and an example of the earth-shattering music he wrote just a few years later.
Gioachino Rossini: La Cenerentola – Overture
Carlo Rizzi conducts the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Patrick Hawes: Quanta Qualia
Soprano: Hayley Westenra
Patrick Hawes conducts the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphony No.25 in G minor
Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducts Concentus Musicus, Vienna
Max Bruch: Serenade for Violin and Orchestra
Violin: Salvatore Accardo
Kurt Masur conducts the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No.1 in C major
Simon Rattle conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra