The Full Works Concert - Friday 7 March 2014

Benjamin Britten joins Beethoven, Mozart and Manuel de Falla on the menu for tonight's Concert of classical masterpieces.

Tonight's Concert opens with Beethoven's Piano Concerto No.1 in C major which, rather confusingly, isn't actually the first one he composed. The Piano Concerto No. 2 was composed before it - and Beethoven also actually wrote another one at the age of 13 known now as Piano Concerto No. 0! In the No.1 which we hear tonight, Beethoven hadn’t yet decided to champion the idea of the piano and orchestra performing as one; instead, there’s a respectful distance between the two. At its premiere in Prague, the audience reacted favourably but with surprise – proving that, even as he was starting out, Beethoven was already sowing the seeds of musical revolution and challenging preconceived ideas as to what any given musical structure should contain.

Benjamin Britten's A Simple Symphony follows, with Steuart Bedford at the helm of the Northern Sinfonia. Bedford personally collaborated with Britten and has conducted his operas around the world, including the world première of 'Death in Venice' in 1973.

Mozart went on holiday to Prague in December 1878 and took a new symphony with him - as one does when one goes on holiday. There he found that the music was so popular with the city's audiences when it was first performed that he said the work belonged to them – hence the nickname of his Symphony No.38 - the Prague Symphony.

Manuel de Falla's Nights in the Gardens of Spain incorporates elements of the folk music from the composer's home region of Andalusia. Falla began this work as a set of nocturnes for solo piano in 1909, but turned the nocturnes into 'symphonic impressions' for piano with orchestra. The work depicts three gardens: the Generalife - the jasmine-scented gardens surrounding the summer palace of the king’s harem at the Alhambra; an unidentified distant garden in which there is an exotic dance; and the gardens of the Sierra de Córdoba, featuring lively gypsy dancing and singing for the feast of Corpus Christi.

Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concerto No.1 in C major Opus 15
Barry Douglas directs Camerata Ireland from the piano

Benjamin Britten: A Simple Symphony
Steuart Bedford conducts Northern Sinfonia

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphony No.38 in D major K.504
Alexander Schneider conducts Chamber Orchestra of Europe

Manuel de Falla: Nights in the Gardens of Spain
Piano: Tzimon Barto
Neville Marriner conducts Academy of St.Martin in the Fields