The Full Works Concert - Friday 16 May 2014
Beethoven’s First Symphony, Allegri's Miserere, and Schumann’s Violin Concerto - all played in full.
Written when Beethoven was only 25, his first symphony is, it's fair to say, a little bit backwards-facing. The influence of Haydn and Mozart are very plain in the melodies but there are a few hints of the greatness to come. The opening is pretty bizarre, starting in a different key from the key of the symphony as a whole. Just another example of Beethoven breaking the mould - and an example of the earth-shattering music he wrote just a few years later. It was premiered alongside other famous works of the day - Haydn's The Creation and a Mozart Symphony - so he was already in very good company.
Allegri, pictured, was a devout catholic, trained as a priest, who worked with the Vatican’s Papal Choir right up until his death. He was described as ‘a model of priestly peace and humility, a father to the poor, the consoler of captives and the forsaken, a self-sacrificing help and rescuer of suffering humanity’. Tonight we hear his haunting Miserere.
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.
The 3 Intermezzi were composed by Johannes Brahms in 1892 and are among the best-loved and most popular of his late piano output. The composer described these pieces as 'lullabies to my sorrows' and the pieces show Brahms at his most tender and introspective, with only one outburst in the third piece of the composer's characteristic passion.
Robert Schumann's Violin Concerto in D minor was his only violin concerto and one that remained unknown to all but a very small circle for more than 80 years after it was written. After Schumann’s attempted suicide in February 1854 and subsequent decline and death, his friend - the great violinist Joachim - evidently suspected the Concerto was a product of Schumann’s madness and thought of the music as morbid. Joachim’s opinion prevailed on the composer’s widow Clara and on Brahms, and the work was kept secret throughout the 19th century. The first performance was given as late as November 1937.
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No.1 in C major Opus 21
Osmo Vanska conducts the Minnesota Orchestra
Gregorio Allegri: Miserere
Andrew Nethsingha directs the Choir of St. John's College, Cambridge
Hubert Parry: Lady Radnor's Suite
Patrick Hawes conducts the Philharmonia Orchestra
Johannes Brahms: 3 Intermezzi Opus 117
Piano: Nicholas Angelich
Robert Schumann: Violin Concerto in D minor
Violin: Christian Tetzlaff
Paavo Jarvi conducts the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra