The Full Works Concert - Friday 28 March 2014

Vaughan Williams, Haydn and Mahler sit alongside the harpist Catrin Finch in tonight's Full Works Concert.

It was thanks to Cambridge University that Ralph Vaughan Williams wrote the music for a satirical production of the Aristophanes comedy, The Wasps. He was invited to compose it by the Cambridge Greek Play committee. Several of Vaughan Williams’s composition tutors – among them, Charles Villiers Stanford and Hubert Parry – had been similarly commissioned by the committee in previous years so Vaughan Williams was following in illustrious footsteps. 

Baroque violinist Giuliano Carmignola has been playing Haydn's Violin Concertos for some time. His playing is brilliant, fluid and emotional. In tonight's recording he is joined by the Orchestra of the Champs-Elysees for a classy and dramatic performance of Haydn's Violin Concerto in A.

Harpist Catrin Finch made her compositional debut with her 'Celtic Concerto' which she has described as an extension of her jazz improvisation. Rhythmically varied with its skilful blending of harp and orchestra, the concerto is an impressive addition to the harp repertoire. 

The Symphony No. 1 in D major by Gustav Mahler was mainly composed between late 1887 and March 1888, though it incorporates music Mahler had composed for previous works. It was composed while Mahler was second conductor at the Leipzig Opera, Germany. Although in his letters Mahler almost always referred to the work as a symphony, the first two performances described it as a symphonic poem or tone poem. Some modern performances and recordings give the work the title 'Titan', despite the fact that Mahler only used this label for two early performances, and never after the work had reached its definitive four-movement form in 1896.

Ralph Vaughan Williams: The Wasps – Overture
Vernon Handley conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra 

Joseph Haydn: Violin Concerto in A major Hob.VIIa:3
Giuliano Carmignola directs the Orchestra of the Champs-Elysees from the violin

Catrin Finch: Celtic Concerto
Harp: Catrin Finch
John Rutter conducts Sinfonia Cymru 

Gustav Mahler: Symphony No.1 in D major 'Titan'
Michael Tilson Thomas conducts the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra