Hall of Fame
Venue Details: Portsmouth Guildhall
- Beethoven : Leonore Overture No.3
- Elgar : Cello Concerto
- Tchaikovsky : Swan Lake Suite No.1
- De Falla : Three Cornered Hat Suite No.2
- Conductor : Shuntaro Sato
- Soloist: Philip Higham (Cello)
Listen to the music now by clicking here and then come and hear the real thing - live!
The enormous emotional range and the complete dramatic mastery with which Beethoven handles the orchestra is evident from the first explosive chord of the third Leonora Overture. It continues with themes of urgency and deep pathos, before a glimpse of deliverance and final triumph. It was too strong a piece to be an effective introduction to the opera, something that Beethoven realized almost at once. It does, however, stand as one of the great emblems of the heroic Beethoven, a potent and controlled musical embodiment of a noble humanistic passion.
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.
Originally a massive flop, Swan Lake has since become a bulwark of the permanent ballet repertoire and its appealing and melodic score has enjoyed frequent concert performances. The suite comprises excerpts from the most beloved numbers including the famous oboe solo with shimmering string accompaniment, the waltz that epitomizes the magical spirit of this fairy tale, the enchanted swan-maiden Odette’s immortal adagio with its solos for violin and cello and the Hungarian czardas.
Written for the Ballet Russes, The Three-Cornered Hat is a story of love and wooing between a miller and his wife and the unwelcome advances of a rude and snobbish local official (symbolised by the tricorn hat of his office). The suite opens with a warm, sweet seguidillas which leads into a fiery, flamenco-like farruca. The concluding section grows to a dazzling climax and a frenzied jota, during which the entire cast rushes about madly as they try to solve the plot’s many comical complications.
This concert is part of a wider series, The Virtuoso Cello, which celebrates the instrument's magnificence and diversity.
Pre-Concert Talk: 6.40 - 7.10pm
Free to all ticket-holders. Find out more here.