Friday 10 February
Concert Hall with Peter Poole,

Grieg, E. Suite no 2 from Peer Gynt, op 55 (1874-75/92).
Bergen PO/Ole Kristian Ruud.

Edvard Grieg was indisputably the leading Norwegian composer of his day, and possibly of all time. He wrote extensively for the theatre, but the music he wrote to adorn Henrik Ibsen’s play Peer Gynt is by far the most celebrated example of this form. Ironically, Grieg himself considered Peer Gynt a ‘most unmusical’ figure, and agonised over the composition. It seems to have paid off, though, in the enduring popularity of the suite.

Monday 13 February
Diversions in Fine Music with Tom Forrester-Paton

Beethoven, L. An die ferne Geliebte, op 98 (1816).
Christoph Prégardien, ten; Andreas Staier, fp.

Although he was never self-pitying – and few have had greater reasons to pity themselves, Beethoven was nonetheless prey to attachments that promised only yearning, but not fulfilment. So persistent was this motif in his life that he had to invent the lieder cycle to deal with it. An Die Ferne Geliebte (‘To the Distant Beloved) was the result; the first true lieder cycle, its title setting the tone for the cataract of beauty that was shortly to flow from the pen of a young composer named Franz Schubert.

Thursday 16 February
Diversions in Fine Music with Peter Poole,

Strauss, R. Romance in F (1883).
Mischa Maisky, vc; Pavel Gililov. pf.

The late 19th century cello virtuoso Hanus Wihan was the dedicatee of a good deal of music for his instrument – notably the Concerto of his good friend Dvorak, and his delightful little Rondo. Wihan served in the Munich Court Orchestra, together with Franz Strauss, father of Richard. And so came about the Romance in F, written when Strauss was in his teens, and already showing breathtaking gifts as an orchestrator.