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Tonight's concert explores the themes of love and conflict in music.
Tonight's concert from Rome - with Sir Antonio Pappano conducting the award-winning Orchestra of the Academy of St. Cecilia - looks at the age-old theme of love and conflict, whether between the feuding Montagues and Capulets, the Napoleonic wars, or the unrest that led up to the Russian Revolution.
The strife begins in Tchaikovsky's famous Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture. The work is based on three main strands of the Shakespeare story. The first represents the saintly Friar Laurence. The second agitated theme evokes the warring families, including a reference to a sword fight, depicted by crashing cymbals. Thirdly, the love theme for Romeo and Juliet is passionate and yearning in character but always with an underlying current of anxiety.
Next we’ll enjoy a complete performance of Rachmaninov’s Symphony No.2. To escape the political tumult that would put Russia on the path to revolution and to have more time to compose away from performing commitments, the composer had moved his wife and infant daughter to Dresden in Germany. They remained there for three years. It was during this time that Rachmaninov wrote his second symphony. After finishing it, he swore he would never write another. He did - but it wasn't until 30 years later.
We’ll also be hearing from the Swiss hero William Tell, in a moment of joyous respite from the revolutionary fervour of Rossini's opera.
The concert closes with the original choral version of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, giving us a chance to relish the glorious rich sound of Santa Cecilia's chorus, who have won numerous awards for their recordings.
Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juliet
Rachmaninov: Symphony No.2
Rossini: William Tell – Pas de Six
Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture