The Full Works Concert - Thursday 27 February 2014

Tchaikovsky's superlative fifth symphony is the climax of tonight's Concert, which also features music by Mendelssohn, Warlock, Beethoven and one Johann William Hertel.

Beethoven struggled to produce an appropriate overture for his only opera, Fidelio, and ultimately went through four versions. His first attempt, written for the 1805 premiere, is believed to have been the overture which we now know as Leonore No. 2, which we hear tonight played by the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Bernard Haitink.

Next we hear a concerto for trumpet and oboe by the 18th century German composer Johann Wilhelm Hertel. He had a successful career as a court composer and teacher in the Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. During the reign of Duke Christian Ludwig II, Hertel wrote primarily instrumental music. Later, under Ludwig's successor, Friedrich the Pious, Hertel focused on sacred music. He wrote a number of symphonies, concertos, harpsichord sonatas, songs, hymns, cantatas and oratorios.

Peter Warlock's Capriol Suite is a set of dances composed in October 1926. Originally written for piano duet, Warlock later scored it for both string and full orchestras. According to the composer, it was based on tunes in a manual of Renaissance dances. But Warlock's biographer observed that "if one compares these tunes with what the composer has made of them it will be seen that to all intents and purposes it can be regarded as an original work." 

The first of Mendelssohn’s two piano concertos was written quickly in Italy in 1831, around the same time as his 'Italian' symphony - and first performed in Munich in October of the same year. The composer took the solo part at the première, having devised the work as a vehicle for himself. In it, Mendelssohn broke the then rules of piano concertos, making the three movements roughly equal in length, and linking them into a continuous whole.

Tonight's concert ends with Tchaikovsky's Symphony No.5 in E minor. It had been ten years since the fairly unsuccessful premiere of the Symphony No.4 and Tchaikovsky worked painstakingly hard to ensure that his new symphonic creation received a favourable response. Sadly, the reaction was, at best, muted. The composer felt incredibly dejected, even going so far as to distance himself from it for quite some time. After his death, however, the work grew in popularity, with audiences and critics alike acknowledging Tchaikovsky’s great skill as an orchestrator and his powerful evocation of the idea of fate throughout the symphony. Today, it stands as one of his most loved large-scale creations.

Ludwig van Beethoven: Leonore Overture No.2 Opus 72
Bernard Haitink conducts London Symphony Orchestra 

Johann Wilhelm Hertel: Concerto for Trumpet and Oboe in Eb major
Trumpet: Wolfgang Bauer
Oboe: Christian Wetzel
Wurttemberg Chamber Orchestra

Peter Warlock: Capriol Suite
Owain Arwel Hughes conducts Camerata Wales

Felix Mendelssohn: Piano Concerto No.1 in G minor Opus 25
Piano: Martin Stadtfeld
Neville Marriner conducts Academy of St. Martin in the Fields

Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.5 in E minor Opus 64
Antonio Pappano conducts Orchestra of the Academy of St.Cecilia