Tag: Malvern

Daniel Rowland at Great Malvern Priory

Following on from the success of Poulenc’s full-length ballet score, Les biches, commissioned by the legendary Sergei Diaghilev in 1923, the composer was fortunate to enjoy many well-paying commissions and fame as a result and one such opportunity was presented by the BBC in 1947 which went on to become his Sinfonietta. Although many musicologists have alluded to some ‘structural weaknesses’ within the work due to such contrasting styles, Poulenc’s complex emotional character is what gives this piece its dynamism and to quote the composer “don’t analyse my music – love it!”.

The story of Mozart’s final three symphonies is a remarkable one. He wrote all three pieces within the space of about nine weeks in 1788, as well as writing other works and simultaneously dealing with immense personal struggles. However, his Symphony No.40 is an iconic and instantly recognisable work that has been widely used in TV and film and possibly most frustratingly for classical music lovers, a catchy ringtone in the 1990s, and yet it’s power to draw the listener in is still as strong today as it was over 230 years ago.

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April Fredrick at Great Malvern Priory

Tonight’s programme features April Fredrick, who is the ESO’s first Affiliate Artist, to perform Dvořák’s Song to the Moon from Rusalka, arranged by Tony Burke.

The Adagio part of Mozart’s Adagio and Fugue in C minor K.546 was a late addition to an earlier work, his Fugue in C minor K.426, written for two pianos in 1783. He later revisited the work in 1788 whilst writing his final three symphonies and transcribed the fugue for strings. It’s not clear why he did this but one theory is he wanted to refresh his old counterpoint studies before starting work on the counterpoint section that concludes his final symphony, ‘Jupiter’.

The first performance of Tony Burke’s arrangement of Strauss’ Morgen! was filmed and recorded in 2020 at Wyastone Concert Hall near Monmouth. It was the first time since lockdown that the ESO had gathered together for a series of innovative recording projects that would later become ESO Digital.

Mozart’s final three symphonies: numbers 39, 40 and 41, are a trilogy of works that stand apart from his own symphonic output and are a regular occurrence in many a concert hall and orchestra’s repertoire. It might be slightly less familiar than the two that followed, however “taken in its entirety, the symphony [no.39] is refreshing to the ear, its pleasure is only intensified by the fact that it is not much performed. Here is a work of inspiration that, due to its rarity, can still surprise and delight” Elizabeth Schwarm Glesner.

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