The Full Works Concert - Thursday 14 November 2013

The greatest work by Tchaikovsky forms the centrepiece of tonight's concert.

Mozart's Flute Concerto in G opens the concert tonight. It was written in 1778 as a commission from the Dutch flautist Ferdinand De Jean in 1777. Mozart was supposed to provide four flute quartets and three flute concertos, yet he only completed two of the three concertos. The opening of the second movement is often thought to resemble the famous theme from the Blue Danube Waltz by Johann Strauss, Jr., which was composed many years later.

The 'Pathetique' Symphony by Tchaikovsky is possibly his greatest work, made all the more significant because it was premiered just over a week before the composer’s death. Of all Tchaikovsky’s works, this is arguably the one that spans both extremes of the emotional spectrum to the greatest extent. One moment you’re enjoying a graceful dance; the next, sombre moods dominate. The symphony’s nickname, 'Pathétique', was added by Tchaikovsky’s brother, with the blessing of the composer. It suggests pathos in the music – something that is undoubtedly there in spades, but not at the expense of a lightness of touch and, at times, a sense of frivolity. In those moments, at least, the music seems far from autobiographical: if Tchaikovsky was struggling with suicidal thoughts, they’re by no means evident throughout.

The concert ends with Hummel's Piano Concerto No.2 in A minor. It was written in 1816 as a showcase for the composer's own virtuosity at the instrument. Unlike his earlier piano concerto, which closely followed the model of Mozart's, this concerto is written in a proto-Romantic style that anticipates a number of works that helped to usher in the Romantic era. Frédéric Chopin, who had played the Hummel concertos, drew from elements of the A minor concerto in his own piano concerti.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Flute Concerto in G major
Flute: Alison Mitchell
Alexander Janiczek conducts the Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.6 in B minor
Antonio Pappano conducts the Orchestra of the National Academy of St.Cecilia

Johann Nepomuk Hummel: Piano Concerto No.2 in A minor
Piano: Stephen Hough
Bryden Thomson conducts the English Chamber Orchestra