The Full Works Concert – Thursday 30 May: Contemporary Favourites

This evening Jane showcases some of contemporary music's biggest names - all working in styles different from their normal genre.

Ludovico Einaudi at The Royal Albert Hall

Tonight's concert features four of contemporary music's biggest names - and if there's one thing that unites all the pieces tonight, it's the fact that all of these works see the composers working in a genre which is unusual to them.

Best known for his religious choral music, John Rutter wrote his Beatles Concerto for two pianos and orchestra after duo Paul Rostal and Peter Schaefer contacted him with the idea of writing a grand romantic-style concerto from Beatles songs. Schaefer had gone to school with Rutter and the pianists loved his music. In it, the composer not only cleverly draws on Beatles tunes but also works in witty references to other piano concertos from the classical giants. 'The best part of it all was that I didn’t have to play it,' Rutter has said. 'That’s a finger-breaking task I have happily left to Peter and Paul, who have never complained.'

For the bulk of his early career, Karl Jenkins was known as a jazz and jazz-rock saxophonist, later moving into composing music for adverts -perhaps, most famously, the classical theme used by diamond company De Beers for their TV advertising campaign. The theme was so popular that Jenkins created Palladio , using the commercial tune as the theme of the first movement.

After first appearing on his album of the same name in 2001,  I Giorni  by Ludovico Einaudi  (pictured above) has also had a life as music for commercials and TV promotional videos. I Giorni was inspired by Einaudi's travels in Africa and saw him working in a style quite different from the modernist classical genre he was schooled in. Uniquely, the track entered the UK Pop Singles Chart at number 32 in 2011.

Jon Lord, who died last year, was best known for his pioneering work in fusing rock with classical or baroque styles, especially with the bands Deep Purple and Whitesnake. The Durham Concerto was commissioned by Durham University and first performed in the city's cathedral on 20 October 2007, as part of its 175th anniversary celebrations. Unusually for a concerto, the piece gives solo opportunities to several different instruments: cello, violin, Northumbrian pipes and Hammond organ. 

John Rutter: Beatles Concerto
Pianos: Peter Rostal, Paul Schaefer
John Rutter conducts the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra 

Karl Jenkins: Palladio
Karl Jenkins conducts the London Philharmonic Strings

Ludovico Einaudi: I Giorni
Violins: Federico Mecozzi, Mauro Durante
Viola: Antonio Leofreddi
Cello: Marco Decimo

Jon Lord: Durham Concerto
Cello: Matthew Barley
Violin: Ruth Palmer
Northumbrian Pipes: Kathryn Tickell
Piano: Jon Lord
Mischa Damev conducts the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

The Full Works Concert