The Full Works Concert - Wednesday 19 February 2014
Schubert's Fifth Symphony and a rarely heard Romantic piano concerto are the highlights of tonight's concert of classical masterpieces.
Tonight's concert kicks off with Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky's Marche Slave, commissioned by the Russian Musical Society for a concert in aid of the Red Cross Society, and ultimately for the benefit of wounded Serbian veterans in the Serbo-Turkish war. Tchaikovsky referred to the piece as his "Serbo-Russian March" while writing it. The first section describes the oppression of the Serbs by the Turkish. In the second, the Russians rally to help the Serbs. The third part reiterates the Serbian cry for help before a final section describing Russian volunteers marching to assist the Serbs.
As a 19-year old in Vienna, Schubert (pictured) began both a law degree and composing his Symphony No.5. This might well have been the work that prompted the composer to drop out of studying law. It is the perfect piece for anyone who wants to get into his music – fresh, light, full of youthful exuberance and bursting with melodies.
Bach's Concerto for two violins, strings and continuo, also known as the Double Violin Concerto or 'Bach Double', is perhaps one of the most famous works by J. S. Bach and considered among the greatest pieces of the late Baroque. He wrote it between 1717 and 1723 when he was the capellmeister at the court of Anhalt-Köthen in Germany. The concerto is typified by the subtle and expressive relationship between the violins.
Friedrich Kalkbrenner famously suggested that Chopin would benefit from three years of study with him. Not just bold in speech, Kalkbrenner was not afraid to write big music either. His Piano Concerto No.2 shows off what a dazzling pianist he must have been, the writing revealing his familiarity with the music of Hummel, as well as with the concertos of Beethoven and John Field.
Tonight's concert ends with Edward Elgar's Cockaigne Overture, a commission from the Royal Philharmonic Society, first performed at the Queen's Hall, London on 20 June 1901, conducted by the composer. In its 15 minutes or so the overture gives a lively and colourful musical portrait of Edwardian London. 'Cockaigne' was a term used at that time as a metaphor for gluttony and drunkenness, and it was adopted humorously to describe London. Elgar dedicated the work to his 'many friends, the members of British orchestras'. It was an immediate success and became one of Elgar's most popular works.
Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky: Marche Slave Opus 31
Neeme Jarvi conducts the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Franz Schubert: Symphony No.5 in B flat major D.485
Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducts the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Johann Sebastian Bach: Concerto in D minor for 2 violins BWV.1043
Violins: Anne-Sophie Mutter, Salvatore Accardo
English Chamber Orchestra
Friedrich Kalkbrenner: Piano Concerto No.2 in E minor Opus 85
Howard Shelley directs the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra from the piano
Edward Elgar: Cockaigne Overture Opus 40
Mark Elder conducts the Halle Orchestra