Thursday 10 November
Concert Hall with Jules Laurent
Respighi, O. Symphonic poem: Pines of Rome (1924).
Leslie Pearson, org; Philharmonia O/Yan Pascal Tortelier.
Respighi is best known for his triptych of tone poems about his beloved city of Rome. He began in 1916 with the Fountains of Rome, and concluded with Festivals of Rome in 1928. In between in 1924, came the Pines, inspired by the distinctive sound those trees make in a stiff breeze. It is by far the best-loved of the series. It contains four movements, each depicting a location in Rome in which pines are to be found.
Friday 11 November
Diversions in Fine Music with Peter Poole
Mussorgsky, M. St John’s night on Bald Mountain (1867; arr. Rimsky-Korsakov).
Finnish RSO/Leif Segerstam.
Mussorgsky composed his “musical picture” as he called it – Night on Bald Mountain, on the Night in question – St John’s Night, the 23rd of June. It seems that the idea of a witches’ Sabbath on that night held a strong appeal for him, and he sat down to write what turned out to be Russia’s first tone poem. His mentor Balakirev, however, loathed it and refused to perform it. It was not until after Mussorgsky’s death that his friend Rimsky-Korsakov came along and reorchestrated it, creating the version we know today.
Monday 14 November
Diversions in Fine Music with Tom Forrester-Paton
Saint-Saëns, C. Danse macabre, op 40 (1874).
French NO/Lorin Maazel, vn & dir.
Camille Saint Saens’ tone poem Danse Macabre is one of the many works that began life as material penned earlier. The Danse started off as a chanson with piano accompaniment, but in 1874 Saint-Saens orchestrated it and replaced the voice with a solo violin. This transformed both the piece and its fortunes, and it has become one of its composer’s favourites.