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Beethoven's majestic Eroica symphony is the climax of tonight's concert
Tonight's concert opens with Roses from the South by Johann Strauss II. It's a medley of themes drawn from his operetta The Queen's Lace Handkerchief and is one of the 'Waltz King's' most enduring works, still regularly performed today at the Vienna Philharmonic's New Year's Concert.
It was to an earlier composer that Rodrigo turned for inspiration when he wrote his Fantasia Para un Gentilhombre - the 17th-century Spanish priest and musician Gaspar Sanz, who put together a sort of guitarists’ manual in 1674. This zesty, dance-filled concerto owes its success not just to Sanz, but to the inclusion of all sorts of Baroque dance forms, which many other composers of Rodrigo’s day were disregarding.
In the 18th century, the most famous and influential member of the Bach family was not J.S. the father but rather, C.P.E. - the second son. He was keyboard player to Frederick the Great in Berlin for nearly 30 years. Later, he moved to Hamburg, where he served as music director for five churches. A prolific composer, C.P.E. Bach wrote close to 900 works. As a court musician to a flute-playing monarch, he composed a great deal of chamber music. Tonight we hear his Flute Concerto in A major H.438.
Tonight's Concert ends with Beethoven's magnificent Eroica Symphony. Composed in 1803, the Symphony was very much written in the shadow of the two symphonic masters, Mozart and Haydn. Their music certainly contained passion and emotion, but it was always restrained within set structures. These structures were becoming tired, though, and a new music was ready to burst forth. Step forward Beethoven, prepared once again to break the rules. Here, for the first time, the composer was determined to take his listeners on a sublime musical journey. His status as the most important composer of his time was pretty much confirmed in an instant with this one mighty work. After hearing it, audiences were gripped.
Johann Strauss II: Roses from the South Opus 388
Andre Rieu conducts the Andre Rieu Orchestra
Joaquin Rodrigo: Fantasia Para un Gentilhombre
Guitar: Milos Karadaglic
Yannick Nezet-Seguin conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: Flute Concerto in A major H.438
Flute: Rachel Brown
Roy Goodman conducts Brandenburg Consort
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Ave Verum Corpus K.618
Bass-baritone: Bryn Terfel
Barry Wordsworth conducts the London Symphony Orchestra and London Voices
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No.3 in Eb major Opus 55
Simon Rattle conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra