Festive Overture – Dmitri Shostakovitch
Cello Concerto in B minor – Antonin Dvořák
Soloist: Richard Harwood
A London Symphony – Ralph Vaughan Williams
The season kicks off with Shostakovich’s high-spirited Festive Overture, a buoyant six-minute curtain-raiser that was composed in just two days! Written about a year after the death of Stalin, this is not the dull grey music of socialist oppression but a brilliant effervescent work that moves from its portentous opening to its bubbling Presto with ease.
Our guest soloist, Richard Harwood, makes a welcome the return to perform Dvořák’s Cello Concerto. Since he last played with us Richard has become principal cellist of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The concerto is one of the classics or the repertoire and was written 1894/5 towards the end of the composer’s successful stint in the United States.
In 2022 we celebrate RVW150, the 150th anniversary of the birth of one of England’s greatest composers, Ralph Vaughan Williams. A London Symphony was composed in 1913 although the score was lost and had to be reconstructed from a set of parts. The composer revised the score substantially in 1920, and then again in 1934. The suggestion that the composer write a symphony on impressions of Edwardian London was given by fellow composer George Butterworth, to whom the symphony is dedicated. The sounds of London are heard in both the Westminster Chimes and the Lavender Cry carefully placed in the symphony.