The centrepiece of the concert is the Violin Concerto in D major by the American Jewish composer, Erich Wolfgang Korngold. Korngold, who was born in what was Austria-Hungary in 1897, ended up in Hollywood, where he made a living writing film music. His score for The Adventures of Robin Hood starring Errol Flynn won him an Oscar, and he vowed not to write any other type of music until Hitler was defeated. The violin concerto, premiered in 1947 by Jascha Heifitz, was his first work for the concert hall after the war ended, and it borrows themes from several of his film scores. Rich in romanticism and soaring melodies, it has a fiendishly difficult third movement, which requires virtuosic playing by the soloist - here the acclaimed Canadian violinist, James Ehnes.
The concert begins with Bartók’s Divertimento for Strings, composed in 1939 in just fifteen days. The sombre second movement alludes to the turmoil across Europe, otherwise the piece is spirited and upbeat, evoking Hungarian gypsy music. Alsop chose Bartók as one of her desert island discs, and said his music opened the door for her to contemporary music.
Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances, the last work in the concert, was also the last piece that Rachmaninov completed. Written in 1940, the piece draws on many of the composer’s fond memories of Russia, from where he emigrated in 1917, and features an extended solo for alto saxophone; the first time Rachmaninov had written anything for that instrument. It is a stirring piece and a fitting finale to a well-conceived programme of Twentieth Century music.
|What||Marin Alsop with the LSO, Barbican|
Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS | MAP
|Nearest tube||Barbican (underground)|
On 07 Jun 15, 7:30 PM – 12:00 AM
|Website||Click here to book via the Barbican Centre’s website|