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In their second concert, recorded exclusively for Classic FM, Antonio Pappano and the Orchestra of the Academy of St. Cecilia showcase some Slavonic masterworks.
Tonight in our second exclusive concert from the Academy of St. Cecilia, Rome, under the baton of Sir Antonio Pappano, the orchestra is joined by Italian cellist Mario Brunello for Dvorak's Cello Concerto.
Like the New World Symphony, which we'll also be hearing tonight, the Cello Concerto is another work hailing from Dvorak's American period. It is infused with the same sense of homesick longing that pervades the symphony. Yet there is far more to the Cello Concerto than initially meets the ear. Homesickness tells only half the tale. With Dvorak in America was his wife Anna, whom he had married only after courting and being turned down by her elder sister, Josefina. At that time, he had started but not finished an early cello concerto as an expression of his love. Now, in America, he learned that Josefina was seriously ill – and began another cello concerto. Into it, he wove Josefina’s favourite of his songs, called ‘Leave Me Alone’. It is heard in the wonderful slow movement.
The concert tonight opens with the Polonaise from Act III of Tchaikovsky's opera, Eugene Onegin. And there's also a chance to hear The Enchanted Lake by the Russian composer, Liadov. Acclaimed by Mussorgsky, Liadov became associated during the 1870s with the group of composers known as The Mighty Handful. He entered the composition classes of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, but was expelled for absenteeism. Of the relatively few works he composed, the tone poem The Enchanted Lake is among his best known. It contains themes from an opera that Liadov began but never completed.
Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin, Polonaise
Dvorak: Cello Concerto in B minor
Liadov: The Enchanted Lake
Dvorak: Symphony No.9 in E minor (‘From the New World’)