BSO: Fingal’s Cave
Fri 08 Feb 2013
£12 - £36
Mendelssohn : The Hebrides Overture
Beethoven : Piano Concerto No.1
Brahms : Symphony No.1
Conductor : Karl-Heinz Steffens
Soloist: John Lill (Piano)
Fingals Cave opens with a mesmerizing rhythmic figure that transforms a delicately embellished downward arpeggio into an undulating melody. As this theme unfolds, extended crescendos and diminuendos in the winds and brass give the impression of ocean swells before gradually giving way to an exquisitely lyrical statement sung by cellos and bassoons. A thrilling storm scene is coloured by fanfares and evocations of seabirds and then a return to the relative calm of the opening heralds a peaceful new theme and the safety of the home port.
Beethoven wrote his Piano Concerto in C major during 1796 and 1797 soon after he had taken up permanent residence in Vienna. It was one of a number of works that he wrote for himself, by way of a showcase as he established himself as a pianist of renown, and was the first of his piano concertos to be published, but the third to be written. Whilst showing a distinct influence of Mozart and Haydn, it contains strikingly original touches of colour and drama, giving it a unique Beethovian character.
Brahms First Symphony, although inspired by those of his hero Beethoven, broke new ground for symphonic form. It is a symbolic journey from darkness to light, the themes developed from a handful of motivic nuggets, all smelted together into a shining edifice, with nothing wasted. Two middle movements provide a necessary relief between the power and weight of the opening and closing movements, and his orchestral sound also is unique: by turns dark and meltingly warm, often infused with a rueful quality expressing a strain of sadness in his personality never lightened by artistic success.