The Full Works Concert - Thursday 13 February 2014

Tchaikovsky's great Symphony No.6 is the climax of tonight's concert of classical greats.

The most soulful of all Beethoven’s music is arguably found in his piano concertos. And in the middle movement of his Piano Concerto No.3, there’s a beauty and elegance that truly confirms his status as the one composer who quickened the pace of change in classical music by welcoming in the Romantic era that was to follow. As was the custom with most of his works for piano, the composer himself performed as soloist on the night of the premiere. It was played alongside the oratorio Christ on the Mount of Olives and the Symphony No. 2 and, never one known for his organisational skills, Beethoven performed most of the concerto from memory – not through choice, but because he’d run out of time to transcribe the piano part.

Next up, a fresh and energising performance of Johann Sebastian Bach's Concerto in C minor for Violin and Oboe. It's performed by the violinist Janine Jansen with award-winning oboist Ramón Ortega Quero. Janine’s ensemble accompaniment on the recording includes her brother, cellist Maarten Jansen, and her father, harpsichordist Jan Jansen.

Tales from the Vienna Woods was composed in 1868 by Johann Strauss II, one of six Viennese waltzes which featured a virtuoso part for zither. This waltz's introduction is one of the longest Strauss ever wrote for a waltz, consisting of 119 bars in the score.

The 'Pathetique' Symphony by Tchaikovsky (pictured) is possibly his greatest work, made all the more significant because it was premiered just over a week before the composer’s death. Of all Tchaikovsky’s works, this is arguably the one that spans both extremes of the emotional spectrum to the greatest extent. One moment you’re enjoying a graceful dance; the next, sombre moods dominate. The symphony’s nickname, 'Pathétique', was added by Tchaikovsky’s brother, with the blessing of the composer. It suggests pathos in the music – something that is undoubtedly there in spades, but not at the expense of a lightness of touch and, at times, a sense of frivolity. In those moments, at least, the music seems far from autobiographical: if Tchaikovsky was struggling with suicidal thoughts, they’re by no means evident throughout.

Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concerto No.3 in C minor Opus 37
Piano: Murray Perahia
Bernard Haitink conducts Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

Johann Sebastian Bach: Concerto in C minor for Violin & Oboe BWV.1060
Oboe: Ramón Ortega Quero 
Violin: Janine Jansen
The Janine Jansen Ensemble

Johann Strauss (II): Tales from the Vienna Woods Opus 325
Lorin Maazel conducts Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.6 in B minor Opus 74
Thomas Dausgaard conducts Swedish Chamber Orchestra