Natalie Plays Elgar
Venue Details: Leeds Town Hall
- Beethoven : Coriolan Overture
- Elgar : Cello Concerto
- Sibelius : Symphony No.2
Beethoven’s titanic yet concise overture fully describes the tragedy of Shakespeare’s Roman general ruled by will and rage, but ultimately destroyed by his own arrogance and pride. The hero’s restless temperament is depicted in the fitful, ever-modulating principal theme which follows the dramatic opening with its three explosive chords and dramatic pauses - a portent of Coriolanus’ final fate.
Despite living for another 14 years, the Cello Concerto was Elgar’s final major work. His beloved Alice was not in good health and died six months after the premiere in 1919, and this seems to have extinguished his creative spark. The music is private and poignant (something that caught early audiences off guard) but it still remains a richly lyrical and noble work. It is written as two pairs of movements with the solo cello in full focus with its bold statements and heart-rending themes, whilst the orchestra is generally confined to a background colour wash.
The Second Symphony is a bold, unconventional work. It was met with instant enthusiasm by Finnish audiences, establishing Sibelius as a major composing force, but it took international listeners a little longer to recognise its genius and pioneering expression of the symphonic form. It is now a firm favourite, due to its generally warm temperament, luscious, soaring melodies and fierce display of musical energy.
This concert is part of a wider series, The Virtuoso Cello, which celebrates the instrument's magnificence and diversity.