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An Orchestral Concert


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From Birmingham
The Birmingham Studio Orchestra
Conducted by Joseph Lewis
Weber, commissioned to write a new Opera for a Vienna theatre (because of the success of his The Marksman), tried several plots, discarding them for the work of an eccentric woman author, Helmina von Chezy (who was largely responsible for the failure of Schubert's Rosamunde, for which she wrote a muddled libretto). Together they selected a plot from a thirteenth-century tale of chivalry, full of ghosts, fairies and such-like legendary folk. The work did not hold the stage; its libretto was too silly even for those days. The Overture strikes the notes of chivalry and mystery. According to Weber's characteristic plan, it contains fragments of the Opera's loading airs.
This is the fifth of the six Violin Concertos that Mozart wrote when, a young man of about twenty, he was living at Salzburg. His father had a great opinion of his son's capacity as a violinist, and urged him to practise.
'You have no idea how well you play the violin,' he wrote to him. 'If you would only do yourself justice and play with boldness, spirit and fire, you would be the first violinist in Europe.' To please his father Mozart worked away at the fiddle, and these Concertos were an outcome of his interest in the instrument. He wrote for a typical Orchestra of the time, consisting of Strings, with two Oboes and two Horns.
Second Movement. In this Slow Movement both First and Second Main Tunes are first given out by the Orchestra, and then repeated by the Soloist. A short interlude brings back the First Tune.
Last Movement. Here is a Rondo, in unusual form. Its opening melody comes round three times, with, by way of variety, two other tunes, one major and the other minor, between the repetitions. This makes the complete 'double sandwich' of orthodox Rondo form. But now Mozart inserts a dashing little episode after the style of the Turkish military music that was much admired in his day. The only drawback here is that the drums and cymbals characteristic of the Turks' 'janissary' music (as it was called) are lacking; but Mozart makes up for them by giving added piquancy to his simple scoring, so that we get all the excitement of the military band, without its noise. After this rather astonishing interruption, the Rondo returns to end the Concerto, but with only two out of its three tunes—a single sandwich instead of a double one.
Tchaikovsky said of his Pathetic Symphony: 'I love it as I have never loved one of my musical offspring before.' It was the last Symphony he wrote. He died a fortnight after its first performance.
The Second Movement, which has a graceful and unusual rhythm of five beats in a bar, falls into three sections—1st Section (note how the First Main Tune is given to the 'Cellos and then a second Tune is given to the Violins, afterwards taken up by the Woodwind, whilst the Violins decorate the score with scales); 2nd Section—softer and more sedate; 3rd Section—like the first.
(Until 23.15)


Conducted By: Joseph Lewis

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