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Beethoven's Eroica Symphony is the major piece in tonight's Full Works Concert.
Tonight's concert opens with Karl Jenkins' popular string piece, Palladio. It was inspired by the 16th century architect of the same name, who was commissioned to build beautiful villas and churches for the wealthy Italian families of his day. Listening to the piece, it's almost as if the rigid, repetitive string lines that form its building blocks are a reflection of the aesthetic beauty within a defined architectural framework that characterises Palladio's buildings.
Mendelssohn's Piano Concerto No.2 in D minor was written in 1837 and premiered at the Birmingham Festival later that year. Unusually for Mendelssohn, who often produced his compositions quickly, the concerto took him a great deal of effort. He desired to produce a work worthy of the commission from Birmingham and impress English audiences. He reworked the concerto several times including after the premiere and before its eventual publication. Despite being overshadowed by other Romantic era Piano Concertos and the relative simplicity of the piano part, it is nevertheless frequently performed and recorded.
Beethoven's Third Symphony, the Eroica, marked a turning point in musical history. He originally titled the piece 'Bonaparte' out of admiration for Napoleon, but when Napoleon declared himself emperor in 1804, Beethoven gave the piece its more familiar name. It was dedicated instead to Prince Franz Joseph von Lobkowitz, Beethoven's patron, and it was at his palace that the symphony was first performed in August 1804. Long, technically challenging and aimed at more than entertainment, the symphony initially confused critics but, later, they came to recognise its significance in the development of the symphonic genre.
Bach's Violin Concerto in E major opens with three aggressive chords that announce the main subject. The ebullient first movement contains a few surprises - two serious episodes providing sharp contrast with the light touch of the main themes. The minor-keyed slow movement is exquisitely controlled and poignant, while the final movement is an exuberant conversation between orchestra and soloist.
Karl Jenkins: Palladio
London Philharmonic Strings
Felix Mendelssohn: Piano Concerto No.2 in D minor
Piano: Jean-Yves Thibaudet
Herbert Blomstedt conducts the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No.3 in E flat major (‘Eroica’)
Simon Rattle conducted the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Johann Sebastian Bach: Violin Concerto in E major
Violin: Hilary Hahn
Jeffrey Kahane conducts the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra