Along the way, we sojourn with old musical friends in a new series: Chamber Classics. Each concert has at its heart favourites of the classical repertoire and will showcase our brilliant CSO musicians in intimate, chamber settings.
CHAMBER CLASSICS ONE: FORGOTTEN ROMANCE
Sunday 14 February 2021, 2pm AND 4.30pm, Albert Hall
CSO Chamber Players
Clara SCHUMANN Romance No. 1, op. 22 for Violin and Piano
Franz SCHUBERT Piano Quintet in A major, D. 667 ‘Trout quintet’
Our first Chamber Classics concert pays homage to Clara Schumann and Franz Schubert, masters of the Romantic style. Sadly, neither enjoyed due recognition in their time: Schubert suffered an untimely death before his work could garner wider acclaim, while Clara Schumann’s career was curtailed by the rigid gender roles of the nineteenth century.
The program opens with Clara Schumann’s yearning Romance for Violin and Piano. Giving equal voice to both instruments, this moving work weighs heavy with nostalgia and a melancholy that lingers beyond the final notes.
Known affectionately as the ‘Trout quintet’, Schubert’s piano quintet playfully extends the musical ideas from his earlier, beloved Lied, Die Forelle (The Trout). The composer was just 22 at its writing: this cheerful work beams with the exuberance of youth.
CHAMBER CLASSICS TWO: OLD FRIENDS
Sunday 2 July 2021, 2pm, Albert Hall
CSO Chamber Players
Antonín DVOŘÁK Waltz No. 1 in A major, op. 54
Johannes BRAHMS Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 115
Johannes Brahms first discovered Antonín Dvořák through the latter’s voluminous submission to a composition competition. The story goes that Brahms, one of the judges, was immediately impressed by Dvořák’s seemingly limitless ability to devise inventive melodies. The pair enjoyed a long friendship and professional association, both achieving lasting recognition among the greats of the Romantic era.
Brahms introduced Dvořák to his publisher, who was similarly captivated and demanded a great number of light, popular works. The Waltz No. 1 in A major was one such piece, written to charm both publisher and punter with its lyrical lilt and musical variety.
Conversely, Brahms penned his Quintet for Clarinet and Strings after declaring his composing career had come to an end. Characterised by dark tonal hues and rich textures, its beauty is in deep introspection and melancholy.
CHAMBER CLASSICS THREE: REIMAGINED WINDS
Sunday 17 October 2021, 2pm, Albert Hall
CSO Chamber Players
Arrangements for wind quintet
Gioachino ROSSINI Overture from The Barber of Seville
Percy GRAINGER Molly on the Shore
Joseph HAYDN Divertimento No. 1
Paul DUKAS The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH Waltz No. 2, Tahiti Trot
This final concert in our inaugural Chamber Classics Series comprises beloved works by Rossini, Grainger, Haydn, Dukas and Shostakovich. Each piece is arranged for wind quintet, a versatile ensemble capable of both flamboyant extroversion and delicate sensitivity.
Highlights of the program include the overture from The Barber of Seville, one of Rossini’s numerous, well-loved operas, and Dukas’ feverish Sorcerer’s Apprentice. For many, the latter has become inextricably associated with Walt Disney’s iconic Fantasia – fortunately, our musicians possess agility and virtuosity well beyond the hapless Mickey Mouse. In this arrangement, the quintet does the work of a full orchestra in conjuring up the rich sound world: ethereal and mysterious, punctuated by frenzied musical outbursts and building to a dramatic climax.
This program also features reimaginings of two popular works by Shostakovich, the slinky Waltz No. 2 and the contrastingly cheeky Tahiti Trot. The latter is, itself, a reimagining of Tea for Two from the 1925 musical comedy No, No, Nanette. Legend has it that Shostakovich produced the Tahiti Trot in under an hour.