The Full Works Concert - Tuesday 22 April 2014
YouTube sensation Valentina Lisitsa is in the hot seat, playing Rachmaninov's fiendish Piano Concerto No.3.
Tonight's Concert kicks off with Franz Lehar's overture to the romantic operetta, The Land of Smiles. This was one of Lehár's later works, and has a bittersweet ending which the Viennese loved. The title refers to the Chinese custom of smiling, whatever happens in life. The show was largely written around the tenor Richard Tauber, for whom Léhar wrote the hit song of the operetta, 'You are my heart's delight. Tauber also sang in the show in London, and was called back to give countless encores of the song.
Valentina Lisitsa's recording of Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No.3 came to fruition after her performances went viral on YouTube and the pianist remortgaged her house, hired the London Symphony Orchestra, and recorded the complete Rachmaninov concertos at Abbey Road Studios. Thankfully, the recordings were hugely successful and she effortlessly tackles everything that Rachmaninov throws her way.
Franz Danzi was a German cellist, composer and conductor whose career spanned the transition from the late Classical to the early Romantic styles. As a young man he knew Mozart, whom he revered, and was a mentor for the young Carl Maria von Weber, whose music he respected and promoted. Although not himself a composer of the first rank, Danzi was a highly competent musician. His music is charming, tuneful, and well crafted and that is especially on show in his music for woodwind. Tonight we hear the Flute Quartet in D major.
Our concert closes with Beethoven's Symphony No.4 in Bb major. The gentle Fourth followed the mighty ‘Eroica’, and it’s easy to underrate it. In tonight's performance, Ivan Fischer finds more mystery in the slow introduction to the first movement than many other conductors, but the clouds are dispelled, and it gets better and better: there’s a beautiful singing quality to the Adagio, and the neat performance of the last movement is all you could wish for.
Franz Lehar: The Land of Smiles – Overture
Richard Bonynge conducts the English Chamber Orchestra
Sergei Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.3 in D minor Opus 30
Piano: Valentina Lisitsa
Michael Francis conducts the London Symphony Orchestra
Franz Danzi: Flute Quartet in D major Opus 56 No.1
Flute: Karl Kaiser
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No.4 in Bb major Opus 60
Ivan Fischer conducts the Budapest Festival Orchestra