Friday 3 February
Concert Hall with Neil McEwan
Hummel, J. Trumpet concerto in E (1803).
Crispian Steele-Perkins, tpt; King’s Consort/Robert King.
Monday 5 February
Morning Concert with Nina Fudala
Haydn, J. Trumpet concerto in E flat, Hob.VIIe:1 (1796).
Geoffrey Payne, tpt; Melbourne SO/Michael Halász.
The baroque trumpet was essentially a piece of elegantly coiled plumbing, from which prodigiously skilled players could, by ‘bending’ its natural harmonics, coax a very limited chromatic voice. In Haydn’s time, a trumpet virtuoso experimented with rotary valves, which gave the instrument a genuinely chromatic voice, and for which Haydn wrote his famous trumpet concerto. Further experiments led to the piston valve, familiar to us today. The task of writing a concerto this time fell to Hummel, and he produced the dazzling work you can hear Neil present.
Wednesday 8 February
Diversions in Fine Music with James Hunter.
Bennett, W. Sterndale. Chamber trio in A, op 26 (1839).
James Dickenson, vn; Nick Stringfellow, vc; Jeremy Young, pf.
William Sterndale Bennett grew up in a Britain firmly convinced that all serious musical talent lay elsewhere. It was when Mendelssohn heard the 20-year old’s piano concerto, and invited him to Leipzig, where Robert Schumann joined the list of his influential admirers, that he at last found a true appreciation of his lapidary, emotionally continent musical style, with its debt to Mozart and indeed, to Bach.
Thursday 9 February
Concert Hall with Ross Hayes
Strauss, R. Death and transfiguration, op 24 (1888-89).
Metropolitan Opera O/James Levine.
Richard Strauss was a notably precocious master of the orchestra. His early tone poems took Liszt as their touchstone, but the orchestration is all Strauss’ own. For a young man of 24, however, who had yet to experience serious illness, to embark on a tone poem about death was an act of outstanding chutzpah. Yet, on his deathbed, 60 years later, he remarked to his daughter-in-law that death was turning out to be just as he had imagined it, all those years ago.