Sunday 5th November 2023, 7.15pm
Brigg Fair: An English Rhapsody, Frederick Delius
Violin Concerto, Samuel Barber
Soloist: Aki Blendis
Symphony No.1 in D ‘Titan’, Gustav Mahler
We open the 2023 /24 season with Brigg Fair: An English Rhapsody by Frederick Delius. Delius wrote his rhapsody for large orchestra in 1907. He dedicated it to his friend Percy Grainger, who had collected the song, Brigg Fair, in Lincolnshire some two years earlier. The song tells of a young man who sets out for the fair on a hazy August morning to meet his sweetheart. Delius’ work is a theme and set of variations.
Samuel Barber composed his Violin Concerto in 1939. The first two movements were written while the composer was in Switzerland, but the outbreak of World War II curtailed his writing and he did not start the final movement until he was back in the USA. The first two movements are lyrical and melodic yet the finale is played at breakneck speed, never pauses and utilises complex rhythmic devices. The solo violin plays in a perpetual, continual motion with only two orchestral breaks. The IWSO is delighted to welcome Aki Blendis, string finalist in the BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2022.
In November 1889, Gustav Mahler conducted the premiere of his five-movement work Symphonic Poem in Two Sections. The audience were not overly enamoured with the latter part, although the first section was met with warm applause. Mahler made significant revisions ahead of the second performance four years later, when the work was entitled Titan – a tone poem in symphonic form. In 1896, and having dropped one of the movements, the work was now titled Symphony No.1 in D major. It is often referred to as the ‘Titan’, although Mahler only used this in its second incarnation. During his lifetime the symphony did not receive the acclaim he believed it deserved, however it is now recognised as one of the most impressive first symphonies ever written.