The Full Works Concert – Monday 3 June: Northern Sinfonia Week

All this week, Jane Jones - along with the rest of Classic FM - is celebrating our partnership with Northern Sinfonia, Classic FM’s Orchestra in the North-East of England.

Northern Sinfonia. Photo by Mark Savage

From its home at The Sage Gateshead , the Northern Sinfonia - Classic FM’s Orchestra in the North-East of England - performs across the North of England and flies the region’s flag throughout the United Kingdom and overseas. The orchestra has become celebrated for its dynamic approach to programmes and performances, ranging from small-scale ensembles in intimate locations to the full orchestra in major concert halls.

Tonight's concert kicks off with pianist Imogen Cooper directing the Northern Sinfonia from the piano in Mozart's Piano Concerto No.18 in B flat major. The concerto was performed by Mozart himself in February 1785 and was described by his father to Mozart's sister, who was in the audience, as “a masterful concerto…I had the great pleasure of hearing all the interplay of the instruments so clearly that for sheer delight tears came to my eyes.' When Mozart left the stage, the emperor reportedly tipped his hat and called out ‘Bravo Mozart!’

We venture into the 20th century for Jane's next piece - Gerald Finzi's Five Bagatelles are beautiful short pieces for clarinet and orchestra which have become Classic FM favourites. Four of the five pieces were first performed together at one of the renowned National Gallery daily lunchtime concerts in 1943 that did so much to lift the spirits of war-weary Londoners. The pieces demonstrate Finzi's particular skill at exploiting the clarinet's full range and varied tones. The Bagatelles are played tonight by clarinettist Robert Plane.

The conductor Thomas Zehetmair leads the Sinfonia in Schumann 's fourth symphony - now considered to be one of his most original and inventive works. Departing radically from the traditions established by Haydn , Mozart and Beethoven , this tightly constructed symphony paved the way for the emerging late romantic styles of Brahms and Dvorak. Schumann called it a "symphony in one movement".

More wind music tonight comes in the form of the Oboe Concerto no. 7 by Ludwig August Lebrun. Lebrun was an oboist and composer who toured extensively with his father - also an oboist - and then his wife who was a soprano. According to a contemporary critic, Lebrun 'attained the maximum in perfection on the oboe'.

Tonight's concert concludes with the Cello Concerto in C major by the 18th century Austrian composer, Leopold Hoffmann. He was the Kapellmeister at the Cathedral of St. Stephen in Vienna. In May 1791, at his own request, Mozart was appointed assistant-Kapellmeister. At the time Hofmann was ill and Mozart expected to become Kapellmeister upon Hofmann's death. However, Hofmann survived Mozart and kept his post as Cathedral Kapellmeister until he died.

 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Concerto No.18 in B flat major
Piano/Director: Imogen Cooper
Northern Sinfonia

Gerald Finzi: 5 Bagatelles
Clarinet: Robert Plane
Conductor: Howard Griffiths
Northern Sinfonia

Robert Schumann: Symphony No.4 in D minor
Conductor: Thomas Zehetmair
Northern Sinfonia

Ludwig August Lebrun: Oboe Concerto No.7 in F major
Oboe: Kurt Meier
Conductor: Howard Griffiths
Northern Sinfonia

Leopold Hoffmann: Cello Concerto in C major
Cello/Director: Tim Hugh
Northern Sinfonia 

The Full Works Concert