Brahms, Schumann, Dvořák
RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra
John Wilson conductor (replacing Diego Matheuz)
Alena Baeva violin
Brahms Variations on a Theme of Joseph Haydn / 19’
Schumann Violin Concerto / 33’
Dvořák Symphony No. 8 / 34’
Riddles and rewards aplenty are to be found in an evening of melody-filled 19th-century classics featuring a mistaken, history-making tribute, a long-lost concerto with a spooky past and a masterpiece symphony rooted in the ageless forests of Bohemia.
Brahms’ delicate, dancing Variations on a Theme of Joseph Haydn mark a moment in music history as the first standalone set of variations composed for a modern symphony orchestra. The borrowed theme wasn’t actually Haydn’s – elegantly purloined instead from a popular chorale dedicated to St Anthony – but Brahms still manages to quote his ‘Clock’ Symphony in the grand, stately and stirring finale.
Forgotten for 80 years, Schumann’s only original Violin Concerto was rediscovered when the violinist great-nieces of the virtuoso Joseph Joachim claimed it was revealed to them by spirit voices during a seance. Shot through with bewitching melancholy and shifting between broody introspection, infectious warmth, striding rhythmic boldness and a rousing nobility of spirit, few concertos so vividly capture the stirring, blood-pulse of the heart at its most imaginative and inspired.
Dvořák’s Eighth Symphony is a thrilling orchestral display boasting one of his most memorable melodies and lit up by birdsong, images of country life, rustic revelry and a rousing finale guaranteed to send you out into a cold, winter’s night with a warming, summer’s stride in your step.
Preceded at 6.30pm by Soundings, free pre-concert talk with John Wilson and Alena Baeva in conversation.
Presented by RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra