The Full Works Concert - Tuesday 5 November 2013

The Full Works Concert RLPO Week continues with fine recordings from Classic FM's Orchestra in the North West of England.

The second concert in our week with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra continues with a couple of star young soloists. British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor performs a wonderfully glitzy version of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, and we’ll also be hearing from the Norwegian trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth.  There's also music by Deep Purple rocker-turned-classical-composer Jon Lord, whose deeply evocative Durham Concerto was commissioned by the city’s university.

The concert opens with Les filles de Cadiz - a trumpet arrangement of one of Delibes' songs. He was a friend and admirer of Bizet and the two composers shared a similar approach to producing music that fed the 19th-century French infatuation with exotic, Oriental cultures. Les filles de Cadiz even echoes two of Bizet’s Carmen arias - the Seguidilla and the Act II Gypsy song.

Eric Coates wrote his London Again Suite in 1936 in response to the huge popularity of his original London Suite of 1933. Like its predecessor, the suite draws inspiration from three London streets - Oxford Street, Langham Place and Mayfair - offering up a march, an elegy and a waltz respectively to represent each location.

In 1924, the American bandleader Paul Whiteman wanted to prove that jazz styles could have as much clout as the classics by staging a concert which he labeled an 'experiment in modern music.' Gershwin was commissioned to write a piece for solo piano and jazz band combining elements of classical music with jazz-influenced styles. The piece, Rhapsody in Blue put George Gershwin on the map and, whatever you want to call it - classical, jazz, pop - it has become an all-time American classic. 

Many of Vaughan Williams’s most famous compositions were direct settings of famous or newly discovered folk melodies. In the case of his Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus, the inspiration was less literal. As the composer himself explained, "These variants are not exact replicas of traditional tunes but rather reminiscences of various versions in my own collection and those of others."

For former Deep Purple keyboard player Jon Lord, the Durham Concerto was his first solely classical piece, commissioned by Durham University to celebrate its 175th anniversary. The work was five years in the making, finally premiered in the city’s cathedral on 20 October 2007 and featuring the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Northumbrian pipes player Kathryn Tickell, cellist Matthew Barley, violinist Ruth Palmer, and Lord himself at his beloved Hammond organ. It’s a deeply evocative work; there are hues of folk music running throughout and brilliant uses of orchestral colour as Lord employs the woodwind to particularly quirky effect.

Leo Delibes: Les Filles de Cadiz
Trumpet: Tine Thing Helseth 
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Eivind Aadland

Eric Coates: London Again Suite
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/John Wilson

George Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue
Piano: Benjamin Grosvenor
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/James Judd

Ralph Vaughan Williams: 5 Variants of ‘Dives and Lazarus’
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/David Lloyd-Jones

Jon Lord: Durham Concerto
Soloists: Matthew Barley, Ruth Palmer, Jon Lord, Kathryn Tickell
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Misca Damev