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A Mozart piano concerto that dazzled audiences is the centrepiece of tonight's concert...and there's Eric Whitacre too.
The concert opens this evening with Franz Schubert's Symphony No.5 in Bb major. This is the perfect entry level for anyone to whom you want to introduce Schubert with the intention of making sure that they want to hear more. It’s fresh, it’s light and it’s just bursting with tunes, in every nook and cranny. And that fits with exactly where Schubert was in life when he wrote it. At 19, this might well have been the piece that caused him to break off from his planned law degree. This symphony is a real product of its time – it could almost be by Mozart, given its youthful exuberance.
Lux Aurumque by Eric Whitacre - pictured - is based on a Latin poem which translates as 'Light, warm and heavy as pure gold.' This modern choral classic became known through the composer's Virtual Choir project in 2009. The video which mixed individual recordings by 185 singers from 12 countries caused a colossal on-line rush in interest when it was uploaded in 2011, and has been clicked on YouTube than three million times since.
The Piano Concerto No. 22 by Mozart was written during one of the most successful periods in the composer's life. He was at the height of his popularity in Vienna - six successful subscription concerts held at Lent 1785 convinced Mozart to mount another series of three concerts during the Advent season. For it, Mozart composed a new piano concerto. It was a big success - the second movement was so appreciated by the audience at its premiere that the astonished composer had to encore it before being allowed to conclude the work.
Hummel's Potpourri for Viola and Orchestra has found a place in every viola player's core repertoire. Sprinkled with quotes from operas by Mozart and Rossini and framed by spirited, newly composed passages, Potpourri fills a gap in the small repertoire of the classical-early romantic period.
Hubert Parry wrote his suite of dances for a chamber orchestra conducted by Helen, Countess of Radnor - hence the name Lady Radnor's Suite. In it, Parry is in a light, reflective mood in which he has carefully preserved the style of each dance while at the same time imbuing them with his own English hallmark.
Franz Schubert: Symphony No.5 in Bb major
Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducts the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Eric Whitacre: Lux Aurumque
Stephen Layton conducts Polyphony
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Concerto No.22 in E flat major
Piano: Alicia de Laroccha
Colin Davis conducts the English Chamber Orchestra
Johann Nepomuk Hummel: Potpourri for Viola and Orchestra
Viola: James Ehnes
Howard Shelley conducts the London Mozart Players
Hubert Parry: Lady Radnor’s Suite
Patrick Hawes conducts the Philharmonia Orchestra