The Full Works Concert - Monday 2 September 2013

September's Full Works Concerts kick off with four giants of the Classical and Baroque eras - and a 20th century masterpiece.

Tonight's concert opens with Beethoven's Egmont Overture. It was written around 1809-10 as the opening piece of the incidental music for a play by Goethe. It tells the story of a 16th-century Dutch nobleman, the Count of Egmont, and in the music - which is in a similar style to the Fifth Symphony which he had completed two years earlier - Beethoven expressed his own political convictions through the exaltation of the heroic sacrifice of a man condemned to death for having taken a stand against oppression. The Overture became an unofficial anthem of the 1956 Hungarian revolution.

Haydn's Keyboard Concerto in F major is performed tonight by Marc-André Hamelin, pictured, one of today's most formidable Haydn pianists whose passion for the composer's music is discernible in every note he plays. His recordings with the award-winning Canadian chamber orchestra Les Violons du Roy under their director Bernard Labadie have received the highest critical acclaim.

Handel's Water Music is made up of three orchestral suites, written for an outdoor performance for King George I on the Thames. We're hearing the second tonight. It was first performed on 17 July 1717 after George I requested a concert on the River Thames. The king watched from the royal barge with various dukes and duchesses as the 50 musicians played nearby. The king enjoyed the music so much, he asked the musicians to play the suites three times over the course of the trip down the river.

Mozart wrote his String Quartet in C major K.157 at the end of 1772 in Milan, and it was premiered early the next year. It's one of six string quartets which were composed by Mozart in Milan while he was working on his opera Lucio Silla. They are popularly known as the Milanese Quartets. The six quartets each have three movements. The second movement in the C major quartet moves into a minor key, and is followed by a lightweight finale.

A great deal of Holst’s personality is captured in The Planets, with the extrovert in Jupiter, his sense of humour in Uranus, and his relaxed manner in the lyrical in the second movement of the work, Venus. Venus was the second of the seven to be composed and has an unmistakable air of calm contrasting with the first movement, which is very loud and thunderous.

Ludwig van Beethoven: Egmont Overture
Jos van Immerseel conducts Anima Eterna

Joseph Haydn: Keyboard Concerto in F major Hob.XVIII:3
Piano: Marc-Andre Hamelin
Bernard Labadie conducts Les Violons du Roy

George Frideric Handel: Water Music Suite No.2 in D major
John Eliot Gardiner conducts the English Baroque Soloists

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: String Quartet in C major K.157
Chamber Players of Canada

Gustav Holst: The Planets
Charles Dutoit conducts the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and the women of the Montreal Symphony Chorus