Thursday 3 November
Diversions in Fine Music

with David Brett

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

The late 18th century cello virtuoso- Hanus Wihan was the dedicatee of many compositions, but perhaps the most striking is this Romance, by a 19 year-old Richard Strauss. Wihan served in the Munich Court Orchestra, together with Richard’s father Franz. It reveals a remarkably self-possessed young man, already showing breathtaking gifts as an orchestrator.

Monday 7 November
Concert Hall
with Tom Forrester-Paton

Strauss, R.
Tone poem: Thus spake Zarathustra, op 30 (1895-96).
Los Angeles PO/Zubin Mehta.

Although a tone poem, Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra is certainly symphonic in scale and scope, being lavishly scored and divided into 9 sections, although with just three distinct pauses. It was inspired by Nietzsche’s novel of the same name, and it juxtaposes the inimical keys of C and B major, C major – in the lower strings – standing for mankind and B, given to the higher strings and winds, for the Universe.

Tuesday 8 November
Diversions in Fine Music

with Andrew Dziedzic

Beethoven, L.
Sonata no 32 in C minor, op 111 (1822).
Stephen Hough, pf.

This is the last of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, and arguably the most intriguing. In it, Beethoven stretches and squeezes the sonata conventions to the point where Thomas Mann was moved to remark that the piece was a ‘farewell to the sonata form’. Rhythmically, it prefigures jazz, using syncopation in ways that were not to be heard again until Scott Joplin, 70 years later.

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