Thursday 24 November
Diversions in Fine Music
with Peter Poole.
Bernstein, L.
Suite from West Side Story (1960; arr. Gale).
Center City Brass Quintet. 
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.

Friday 25 November
Diversions in Fine Music

with Michael Field
Gershwin, G.
Rhapsody in blue (1924; transcr. Dokshitser).
Edward Tarr, tpt; Elisabeth Westenholz, pf. 
The Great War had ended in 1918. The sheer scale of the slaughter, and the fact that so much of it was accomplished by people who could not see their victims, had robbed Western art, including ‘classical’ music, of its confidence. Simply writing beautiful music seemed inadequate to the task of artistic expression, and melody was shunned, except in the field of jazz and popular music. Composers of art music did try to reconcile the western musical tradition with the idioms of jazz. Few can have done it with greater success than George Gershwin, as the enduring popularity of Rhapsody in Blue attests.

Friday 25 November
Concert Hall

with Michael Field
Strauss, R.
Oboe concerto in D (1945/48).
Heinz Holliger, ob; New Philharmonia O/Edo de Waart.
Writing soaring cantilena for the soprano voice was something that had occupied Richard Strauss all his working life, not least on account of his marriage to the soprano Pauline De Ahn,with whom, despite her many eccentricities, he had a long and happy marriage. No-one familiar with Strauss’ soprano lieder could be surprised at his enthusiastic acceptance of a commission to write a concerto for that most lyrical of instruments, the oboe.