The Full Works Concert - Friday 6 December 2013
Three major works - from Rachmaninov, Schubert and Sibelius - make up tonight's programme.
Had he lived to hear it, Paganini would surely have been flattered to discover that Sergei Rachmaninov (pictured) had chosen his Caprice No. 24 for solo violin as the inspiration for an ingenious theme and variations for piano and orchestra. Rachmaninov wasn’t the first composer to have written something new in response to the famous caprice: Brahms had done the same thing in the 1860s with his Variations on a Theme of Paganini for solo piano. But these days, it’s Rachmaninov’s take on this sprightly melody that is far and away the favourite.
Sibelius's views on the way a symphony should be a sealed unit, generating all its component musical parts from within seem to reach their zenith in his Second Symphony. Its three opening notes more or less appear to form the entire backbone of what was to become one of his most popular works. Of course, you can’t question the genius with which it is done. The finale of this symphony particularly has the power to move the listener’s emotions. If you listen closely, you will notice that the upward three-note motif from the beginning of the work is still there in the music – and this only adds to the attraction.
The String Quartet No. 13 in A minor - known as the Rosamunde Quartet - was written by Franz Schubert between February and March 1824. It dates roughly to the same time as his monumental Death and the Maiden Quartet. Schubert dedicated the work to Schuppanzigh, who served as the first violinist of the string quartet appointed by Beethoven. Schuppanzigh himself played in the premiere performance which took place on 14 March 1824. It is the second movement which has lent the Quartet its nickname, being based on a theme from Schubert's incidental music for Rosamunde.
Sergei Rachmaninov: Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini
Piano: Simon Trpceski
Vasily Petrenko conducts the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Jean Sibelius: Symphony No.2 in D major
Lorin Maazel conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Franz Schubert: String Quartet in A minor (‘Rosamunde’)