Tag: Mozart

Maja Bogdanovic and Daniel Rowland at St Peter’s, Hereford

The English Symphony Orchestra return to St Peter’s Church in Hereford for a concert featuring two titans of the symphonic world: Haydn and Mozart. Composed on his first trip to London, Haydn’s Symphony No.96 is an accomplished and uplifting work and became part of a collection of works known as his ‘London’ symphonies. It was also given the nickname ‘The Miracle’ based upon an account of a chandelier falling during a performance and nearly missing the audience… This actually happened at a performance of a different Haydn symphony but the name stuck.

As with so many musical nicknames, the title ‘Jupiter’ for Mozart’s Symphony No.41 did not originate from the composer, it is believed that the German violinist Johann Peter Salomon (the same man who championed Haydn’s career in London in the 1790s) devised the name to capture the essence of a symphony of such epic proportions. As a contemporary of Haydn, Mozart was in awe of Haydn and often invited him to his concerts and the reciprocity of admiration was felt both ways. In fact, Mozart’s Requiem was even performed at Haydn’s funeral.

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. In fact, you can hear the other two Mozart symphonies this season as the ESO are performing his Symphony No.40 on Saturday 5th March in Worcester at the Great Malvern Priory and Symphony No.39 at the same venue on Wednesday 15th June.

Sawyers was commissioned in 2009 to write a cello concerto for rising star, Maja Bogdanovic and since then her musical and personal connection with the virtuosic violinist Daniel Rowland inspired Sawyers to compose a double concerto for them both. Overshadowed by the famous Brahms double, this was a somewhat daunting task. The resulting work, written in 2020, is in three movements and is a piece which reflects ideas of journeys which develop initial ideas as the music unfolds.

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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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St John Passion at Leominster Priory

This concert is all about bridging the gap between eras, taking inspiration from the past to create something compelling and new.

The programme opens with a collaboration between the ESO and local partners Academia Musica Choir, who will perform Bob Chilcott’s interpretation of the Passion, using text from St John’s Gospel. Following in a similar setting to J S Bach’s story of the Passion, where the story is narrated by a tenor Evangelist, Chilcott’s creative process took time to unfold given the mixture of excitement and apprehension of retelling such an iconic work. However, the music is direct and accessible and is a very fitting piece to welcome the upcoming Easter celebrations.

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’.

In a bid to reestablish a national voice by returning to music of the past and preservation of native folk music, Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis is a stunning and poignant tribute to English composers of the Tudor era, such as William Byrd and of course Thomas Tallis. The premiere of the work took place in 1910 as part of the Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester Cathedral, a fitting acoustic for such a sonorous piece.

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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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