By the Beautiful Blue Danube Opus 314 Johann Strauss (II) Download 'By the Beautiful Blue Danube Opus 314' on iTunes
Jane Jones presents a rousing nautical overture, a musical joke, a gorgeous violin concerto about butterflies and one of Brahms’ finest symphonies.
Tonight's Concert opens with the Britannia - A Nautical Overture by Alexander Mackenzie who was, in his day, one of Britain's most influential composers, much loved by Elgar. This spirited overture was actually played in the same concert at which his Enigma Variations was premièred. Listen out for two famous tunes - Jack’s the Lad and Rule, Britannia!
Mozart never revealed his exact motivation behind A Musical Joke, but it's thought to be a bit of a dig at sub-standard players — the music is sprinkled with clumsy, mechanical and over-repetitive musical phrases, along with passages that mimic the effects of inaccurate notation and really poor performance.
The Butterfly Lovers' Violin Concerto is one of the most famous pieces of modern Chinese music. Chinese melodies, chord structures and patterns give the piece its distinctive sound. It was written in 1959 by two composers, Chen Gang and He Zhanhao, while they were students at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. But their music did not attain popularity before the late 1970s, when China loosened its restrictions after the Cultural Revolution. It then became a popular accompaniment piece to figure skating. It's played tonight by Vanessa-Mae (pictured).
The Second Symphony by Brahms was composed in the summer of 1877 during a visit the composer made to a town in the Austrian province of Carinthia. Its composition was brief in comparison with the 15 years it took Brahms to complete his First Symphony. Its cheery and almost pastoral mood often invites comparison with Beethoven's Sixth but, perhaps mischievously, Brahms wrote to his publisher that the symphony "is so melancholy that you will not be able to bear it. I have never written anything so sad, and the score must come out in mourning.'
Alexander Mackenzie: Britannia - A Nautical Overture Opus 52
David Lloyd-Jones conducts the Orchestra of Opera North
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: A Musical Joke K.522
Yuli Turovsky conducts I Musici de Montreal
Ho Zhan/Chen Kang: Butterfly Lover's Violin Concerto
Viktor Fedotov conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra
Johannes Brahms: Symphony No.2 in D major Opus 73
David Zinman conducts the Tonhalle Orchestra, Zurich