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Eric Whitacre's Sleep, Elgar's Cello Concerto and Beethoven's Second Piano Concerto are among the highlights in tonight's Hall of Fame Full Works Concert.
One of the masterpieces of the modern cello repertoire, it's strange to think now that Elgar's Cello Concerto wasn't that widely performed until a certain Jacqueline Du Pré got hold of it in 1965. The premiere recording though was made by Beatrice Harrison, with Elgar himself conducting in 1920. Tonight the cello part is played by Alisa Weilerstein.
In 1945, the Italian academic Remo Giazotto completed an Albinoni fragment, which he said he had discovered in the Saxon State Library in Dresden, while he was trying to salvage manuscripts after it was bombed in the Second World War. This produced what is known as the ‘Albinoni Adagio’, but should surely, at the very least, be called the ‘Albinoni–Giazotto Adagio’. Late on in life, Giazotto changed his story, denying that the piece was based on a fragment of Albinoni’s original composition at all. Instead, he wanted the world to know that he, Giazotto, had written the whole thing himself and Albinoni hadn’t played any part in it. Nevertheless – and whatever the truth – the name ‘Albinoni’s Adagio’ sticks.
Sleep is a choral composition by Eric Whitacre (pictured), originally set to the text of Robert Frost's Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. However, Whitacre never secured permission to use the poem and had new lyrics written. Sleep was selected for Eric Whitacre's 2011 Virtual Choir project. The video was posted online in April 2011 and 2,052 individual vocal recordings were uploaded by choir members from 58 countries.
Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major was composed primarily between 1787 and 1789, although it did not attain the form it was published as until 1795. It became an important display piece for the young composer/pianist as he sought to establish himself after moving from Bonn to Vienna. He was the soloist at its premiere on 29 March 1795, at Vienna's Burgtheater in a concert marking his public debut. Beethoven himself apparently did not rate this work particularly highly saying it was "not one of my best."
The Serenade for Strings in C major is a tribute to Tchaikovsky's favourite composer, paying homage to Mozart's serenades and divertimentos. This is a lusher work though than Mozart would have managed, more akin to Tchaikovsky's great ballets Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker. Listen out in particular for the two middle movements which are among Tchaikovsky's finest moments.
Edward Elgar: Cello Concerto in E minor Opus 85
Cello: Alisa Weilerstein
Daniel Barenboim conducts Staatskapelle Berlin
Tomaso Albinoni: Adagio in G minor
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
Eric Whitacre: Sleep
Eric Whitacre conducts Eric Whitacre Singers
Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concerto No.2 in Bb major Opus 19
Piano: Murray Perahia
Bernard Haitink conducts Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Strings in C major Opus 48
Neeme Jarvi conducts Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra