The Full Works Concert - Monday 14 October 2013

The Queen Symphony forms the centrepiece of tonight's Full Works Concert, featuring all the best tunes from the legendary rock group.

Freddy Mercury

Tonight's concert opens with Ludwig van Beethoven's Coriolan Overture. It was written in 1807 for a tragic play about the ancient Roman leader Coriolanus (but not Shakespeare's version.) The structure and themes of the overture follow the play very generally. The main C minor theme represents Coriolanus' resolve and war-like tendencies (he is about to invade Rome), while the more tender E-flat major theme represents the pleadings of his mother to desist. Coriolanus eventually gives in to tenderness, but since he cannot turn back having led an army of his former enemies to Rome's gates, he kills himself.

J. S. Bach composed his famous collection of six concertos between 1708-1721, although they weren't known as the 'Brandenburg' Concertos until 150 years later. Written for Christian Ludwig, Margrave of Brandenburg, they are based on the Italian concerto grosso style. Bach composed them when he was Kapellmeister in the small town of Cöthen, presumably for various members of the Cöthen Court Orchestra, the composer gave them the unofficial title of ‘Six concertos for several instruments’. For Bach, the concertos were a sort of musical job application; he packaged them up for the Margrave in the hope that he might secure some form of employment. Sadly for Bach, there appears to be no record of him ever having received a reply from the Margrave, and no evidence the Margrave himself even heard them played.

Freddie Mercury - flamboyant frontman of the rock band Queen - often expressed that he would 'like people to put their own interpretation' on his songs, and in 2002, Tolga Kashif did just that. It is based on around a dozen well-known Queen hits, including Bohemian Rhapsody, We Will Rock You, We Are the Champions and Who Wants to Live Forever. Kashif spent two years composing the Queen Symphony. He conducted the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in its debut on 6 November 2002. That night, it received a standing ovation from more than 2000 people. The concert was attended by Freddie Mercury's mother Jer Bulsara, Queen drummer Roger Taylor and guitarist Brian May. They said they 'very much enjoyed it' and said it was 'very moving indeed'.

Robert Schumann's Piano Quartet in E flat major was written in 1842 and has been described as the 'creative double' of Schumann's Piano Quintet, also in E-flat major. It is one of the most frequently performed and recorded piano quartets in the standard repertoire. The work was composed in 1842, during Schumann's so-called 'Chamber Music Year.' Prior to then, Schumann had completed no chamber music at all with the exception of an early piano quartet (in 1829). However, during his year-long concentration on the genre he wrote three string quartets and a piano quintet in addition to the piano quartet.


Ludwig van Beethoven: Coriolan Overture
Daniel Harding conducts the German Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra

Johann Sebastian Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No.3 in G major
Trevor Pinnock conducts the European Brandeburg Ensemble

Tolga Kashif: The Queen Symphony
Cello: Nicola Loud
Tolga Kashif conducts the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Voices and the London Oratory School Schola

Robert Schumann: Piano Quartet in E flat major
Piano: Andre Previn
Violin: Young Uck Kim
Viola: Heiichiro Ohyama
Cello: Gary Hoffman

The Full Works Concert