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A lost Vivaldi masterpiece and Bach's remedy for insomnia are among the highlights of tonight's concert.
This evening's concert kicks off with Wagner's Prelude to The Mastersingers of Nuremburg. Wagner began writing the libretto in 1862 and followed this by composing the Prelude which received its first performance, conducted by the composer, in November of that year. But the whole opera was not finished until five years later. Tonight we hear the overture performed by the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Daniel Barenboim.
Vivaldi's Concerto in G major for 2 Mandolins was first discovered among a collection of manuscripts left to a charitable mission of priests by the family of one count Giacomo Durazzo, a patron of the arts. Hundreds of previously unknown Vivaldi manuscripts were uncovered in his collection. This double concerto quickly became a 20th-century favourite.
The Symphony No. 99 in E-flat major is the seventh of the 12 so-called London Symphonies written by Haydn. It was written in 1793 in Vienna in anticipation for the composer's second trip to London. It was premiered on 10 February 1794 at the Hanover Square Rooms with Haydn directing the orchestra from the fortepiano. Interestingly, it is the first of Haydn's symphonies to include clarinets.
The story behind Johann Sebastian Bach's Goldberg Variations involves a cast of three. First, Count Kaiserling, who suffered from insomnia. Second. his much put-upon musician, the eponymous Johann Goldberg. Finally, there is Bach - pictured. When Kaiserling was up all night, he would make Goldberg play in the adjacent room. Bach’s reputation as a fine composer reached the ears of Kaiserling, so Goldberg was sent to him to be well tutored. When Bach heard of the plight of Goldberg’s boss, he penned the work. It was a genre of music into which he had never before ventured, thinking variations almost a form of musical ‘sheep counting’ and thus perfect for an insomniac. Luckily for Bach, and also for Goldberg, the new composition helped to ensure that Kaiserling was out for the count. For his troubles, Bach was said to have been paid a goblet full of gold.
Richard Wagner: The Mastersingers of Nuremburg – Prelude
Daniel Barenboim conducts the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Antonio Vivaldi: Concerto in G major for 2 Mandolins
Mandolins: Ugo Orlandi, Dorina Frati
Claudio Scimone conducts I Solisti Veneti
Joseph Haydn: Symphony No.99 in E flat major
Colin Davis conducts the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Johann Sebastian Bach: Goldberg Variations
Piano: Glenn Gould