Friday 16 June
Diversions in Fine Music
 with Michael Field

Bernstein, L.

Suite, from West Side story (1960; arr. Crees).
Philip Jones Brass Ensemble.

West Side Story, Jerome Robbins’ 1957 take on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, ran for over 700 performances on Broadway before going on tour, and was one of the greatest musical successes of its age. Leonard Bernstein’s score was a triumph, and bequeathed to popular culture some of its most hummable tunes. The suite is a firm favourite.

Tuesday 20 June
Concert Hall
 with Sue Jowell

Beethoven, L.

Symphony no 3 in E flat, op 55, ‘Eroica’ (1803).
Vienna PO/Simon Rattle.

Beethoven’s first two symphonies were to some extent calling cards for the Viennese public. Between the second and the third, Beethoven’s writing underwent the sort of change wrought in Popeye, when, upon seeing Olive Oyl in the clutches of Bluto, he downs a can of spinach. Like Popeye’s biceps bursting out of his T shirt, The Eroica broke free of the comfortable ellipses of the Classical form, revealing to the astonished world a musical language that was both muscular and impassioned. It has a good claim to be the template for the 19th century symphony.

Thursday 22 June
Concert Hall
 with David Brett

Falla, M. de

Nights in the gardens of Spain (1909-15).
Alicia de Larrocha, pf; London PO/Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos.

Like many Spanish composers, Manuel de Falla wrote a great deal of music closely connected with the ancient regions of his country – particularly the ancient region from which he happens to hail – Andalusia. His time in Paris had given him a mastery of Impressionism, and in 1915 he completed perhaps his most impressionist score – Nights of the Gardens of Spain. It’s scored for piano and orchestra, the piano having a brilliant part which nonetheless never upstages de Falla’s lush orchestration.