The Full Works Concert: Friday 23 January 2015, 8pm

Listen again to Elgar's Cello Concerto - played by Natalie Clein - in our latest exclusive concert from the RLPO.

Continuing Classic FM’s year-long celebration of the 175th anniversary of Classic FM’s Orchestra in the North West - the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra - Catherine Bott presents Vasily Petrenko conducting George Gershwin’s depiction of a taxi-ride through the jazz-age French capital city in An American in ParisThe composer first visited Paris soon after the premiere of his Rhapsody in Blue  in 1924. Two years later, he went to the city again and the idea came to him of composing an orchestral work describing his impressions of the city. He even bought some authentic Parisian taxi horns, after deciding to use the real thing. It was another two years after that, though, before he got round to serious work on the piece. Back in Paris in 1928, he had meetings with Ravel , Stravinsky , Prokofiev , Poulenc and Milhaud - and bought more taxi horns. Gershwin described An American in Paris as a 'rhapsodic ballet…written very freely and...the most modern music I've yet attempted.'
Somebody once said that the way Elgar chooses to open his Cello Concerto, with those tortured chords sounding as if they have to be excavated from the cello face, is as if Shakespeare had started Hamlet at ‘To be or not to be’. Most concertos take a little time to come to their main point. if they don’t make you wait until the slow movement – and many do – for their crux, they at least keep the listener waiting through a short orchestral introduction. Elgar was having none of it. Perhaps the timing of the composition explains it all. In 1918, and aged 61, he had gone through the period of his life where he would have been regarded as a budding composer. In fact, he had already been acknowledged as a national treasure for some time. Now, he was seriously wondering whether some critics were right to write him off as a spent force. He came around from the anaesthetic after an operation to remove an infected tonsil with this tune already in his head, so he wasn’t going to let it go to waste. he didn’t and it remains one of the most English of all pieces of English music.

Tonight we also hear Richard Strauss’s Symphonia Domestica, a charming and tune-filled portrayal of the composer’s happy domestic life. 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Don Giovanni – Overture
Vassily Petrenko conducts the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

George Gershwin: An American in Paris
Vasily Petrenko conducts the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra 

Edward Elgar: Cello Concerto in E minor
Cello: Natalie Clein
Vernon Handley conducts the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra 

Richard Strauss: Sinfonia Domestica 
Vasily Petrenko conducts the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra