The Full Works Concert - Thursday 17 April 2014
Lang Lang plays a nationalistic Chinese piano concerto.
Tonight's Concert gets under way with Rimsky-Korsakov's symphonic suite Scheherazade, composed in 1888 and based loosely on the stories and themes from the Arabian Nights. Despite there being 1001 nights in the original collection, Scheherazade has just four movements: The Sea and Sinbad’s Ship; The Tale of the Prince Kalender; The Young Prince and the Young Princess (this is the big hit), and The Festival at Baghdad – The Sea – The Shipwreck. He kept the movement's titles vague, but settled on the work's title because he thought it "brought to everyone’s mind the fairy-tale wonders of Arabian Nights and the East in general."
The Yellow River Piano Concerto was a collaboration between musicians including Yin Chengzong and Chu Wanghua, and based on the Yellow River Cantata by composer Xian Xinghai. Since its politicised premiere in 1969 during the Cultural Revolution, the Concerto has become popular in China and amongst overseas Chinese nationalists. It's played tonight by Lang Lang.
Haydn’s last three symphonies, numbers 102 to 104 are the most impressive of his entire career, bringing together everything he had learned in almost 40 years of writing symphonies. No. 102 was completed in 1794 and it is now believed to be the symphony at the premiere of which a chandelier fell from the ceiling of the concert hall in which it was performed. Fortunately, the audience escaped unharmed, supposedly because they had rushed the stage. It was long believed that this event took place at the premiere of his Symphony No. 96, which gave it the nickname, 'Miracle'.
Robert Schumann's 3 Romances is one of the finest works for oboe from the Romantic era, a period during which the instrument was quite neglected. However tonight's performance is an arrangement for clarinet. While it may sound effortless, this is a piece that requires extraordinary breath control from the performer.
Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade Opus 35
Valery Gergiev conducts the Kirov Orchestra
Xian Xinghai: Yellow River Piano Concerto
Piano: Lang Lang
Long Yu conducts China Philharmonic Orchestra
Joseph Haydn: Symphony No.102 in Bb major
Simon Rattle conducts the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Robert Schumann: 3 Romances Opus 94
Clarinet: Todd Levy
Piano: Elena Abend