Piano Concerto in A minor Opus 17 (2) Ignacy Jan Paderewski
The choirboy Aled Jones shines tonight in a complete performance of Fauré's Requiem.
Tonight's concert features three undisputed masterpieces. We kick off with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A major. Completed in 1791, the year of the composer's death, the concerto marked Mozart's farewell to instrumental music. It was also the first clarinet concerto to be written by a major composer – except that Mozart did not write it for the clarinet at all! It was intended for the basset clarinet, an instrument that has four semitones added to its lower range.
Fauré noted that his Requiem was ‘composed for nothing... for fun’. The composer regarded death as a happy deliverance and, in place of the sombre nature of many requiems that had gone before, Fauré’s is noted for its calm, serene and peaceful outlook. Anyone looking for morose themes is searching in the wrong place. Instead, here we find musical solace in a work that focuses not on the morbid, but on the supposedly restful and fear-free nature of death. It's performed tonight by, among others, a young Aled Jones.
The masterful Emperor Concerto by Beethoven is proof of the tenderness and beauty that runs like a thread through this great man’s music. At the time of writing it, Beethoven was very much straddling the Classical and Romantic periods and it's almost as if a new kind of music is being born. Apparently, the work’s nickname derived not from Beethoven but from a comment made by one of Napoleon’s officers, who was stationed in Vienna at the time. It was ‘an emperor of a concerto’, the man supposedly exclaimed. Indeed it was. And the name has stuck ever since.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Clarinet Concerto in A major
Clarinet: Michael Collins
Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Gabriel Faure: Requiem Opus 48
Soloists: Aled Jones, Stephen Roberts
Richard Hickox conducts the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Symphony Chorus
Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concerto No.5 in E flat major (‘Emperor’)
Piano: Alfred Brendel
Simon Rattle conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra