Beauty and the Beast - Overture Alan Menken
For her final Concert Hall Favourites programme of the week, Jane Jones introduces an epic work from Hector Berlioz.
Jane's concert this evening opens with the work that was the first piece played on Classic FM when it opened in 1992. Handel composed Zadok the Priest between September and October 1727, one of four coronation anthems for King George II. Zadok is by far the most popular of the four with its extraordinary, prolonged and goose-bump inducing build-up to that moment when the choir erupts into glorious song. It's performed tonight by The Sixteen conducted by Harry Christophers.
Edward Elgar based his Serenade in E minor for Strings on a tune he wrote back in his youth. It was premiered, in a private performance, by the delightfully named Worcester Ladies Orchestral Class (conductor one E. Elgar) in 1892. Towards the end of his life, Elgar described the Serenade for Strings as his favourite composition. He even recorded it for an early gramophone record.
The great Northern Irish flautist James Galway plays Mozart's Flute Concerto in G major. It was written in 1778 for the Dutch flute player Ferdinand De Jean. Mozart was supposed to provide four flute quartets and three flute concertos for De Jean, yet he only completed two of the three concertos.
Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique was premiered in 1830, three years before his tempestuous marriage to the Irish actress Harriet Smithson. The work is one long, musical expression of his passion for her. The subject matter becomes more and more fantastical, going from Reveries in the first movement through to the final Dream of Witches’ Sabbath in the final movement, via a March to the Scaffold. The orchestra never sounded bigger or better.
George Frideric Handel: Zadok the Priest
Harry Christophers conducts The Sixteen and The Sixteen Orchestra
Edward Elgar: Serenade in E minor for Strings
Andrew Davis conducts the Philharmonia Orchestra
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Flute Concerto in G major
Flute: James Galway
Rudolf Baumgartner conducts the Lucerne Festival Strings
Hector Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique
Colin Davis conducts the London Symphony Orchestra