The Full Works Concert - Thursday 22 May 2014

A stunning piece by one of the biggest names in British choral music, John Rutter, is a highlight of tonight's Concert.

Dvořák initially wrote his 'American' Suite in A major for piano in New York in early 1894. He orchestrated it in two parts more than a year after his return to the United States. The orchestral version was first played in concert in 1910 and not published until 1911, seven years after the composer's death. The opening theme is marked by Dvořák's American-influenced style - difficult to determine whether it comes from American folk music or traditions brought by Czech emigrants to the US. This mix of American influence with Slavic tradition is also perceptible in the rhythm of the third movement, and in the last movement's themes native to the Far East.

George Frideric Handel's Organ Concerto in Bb major comes from a set of six composed in London between 1740 and 1751, and published posthumously in 1761. They were written for performance within Handel's oratorios, contain almost entirely original material, including some of his most popular and inspired movements. The Bb was first performed on the double manual organ at the theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields. It is unique in the series for its pedal part and is on a grander and more majestic scale than Handel's earlier concertos, written for the more intimate single keyboard chamber organ.

Mozart's fifth violin concerto – dated 20 December 1775 – is the most mature of the five he wrote, and the most ambitious, despite having no more than a standard orchestration of strings, two oboes and two horns. The first movement has the unusual feature of a soaring six-bar slow theme with which the solo violin makes its initial entry. The finale is a familiar enough rondo with the added unexpected appearance of a minor-key episode and the then fashionable Turkish style, with the usual noisy percussion impersonated by the cellos and basses. This movement also has one of Mozart’s wittiest endings.

John Rutter's Gloria was written as a concert work. It was commissioned by the Voices of Mel Olson, Omaha, Nebraska, and the composer directed the first performance on the occasion of his first visit to the United States in May 1974. The Latin text, drawn from the Ordinary of the Mass, is a centuries-old challenge to the composer: exalted, devotional and jubilant by turns. Rutter’s setting, which is based mainly on one of the Gregorian chants associated with the text, divides into three movements roughly corresponding to traditional symphonic structure. The accompaniment is for brass ensemble with timpani, percussion and organ – a combination which in the outer movements makes quite a joyful noise unto the Lord, but which is used more softly and introspectively in the middle movement. The composer later made a version with full orchestra.

The Youth Symphony in D minor is the first movement of a symphony written by Sergei Rachmaninov, the score of which is dated September 1891 when the composer was 18. It is the only movement of the work that has survived and was only published in 1947, four years after the composer's death. The influence of Tchaikovsky on the youthful Rachmaninov is evident.


Antonin Dvorak: American Suite in A major
Ivan Fischer conducts the Budapest Festival Orchestra

George Frideric Handel: Organ Concerto in Bb major HWV.306
Organ: Simon Preston
Trevor Pinnock conducts the English Concert

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Violin Concerto No.5 in A major K.219
Violin: Vadim Repin
Yehudi Menuhin conducts the Vienna Chamber Orchestra

John Rutter: Gloria
Stephen Layton conducts the City of London Sinfonia, The Wallace Collection and Polyphony
Organ: Andrew Lumsden

Sergei Rachmaninov: Youth Symphony in D minor
Owain Arwel Hughes conducts the Royal Scottish National Orchestra