Saturday 16th March 2024, 7.15pm
Le Chasseur Maudit, César Franck
Piano Concerto in F, George Gershwin
Soloist: Viv McLean
Othello Suite, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Till Eulenspiegel, Richard Strauss
To start this programme the IWSO will perform César Franck’s tone poem Le Chasseur Maudit or, in English, The Accursed Huntsman. Other than this overture and his Symphony in D, Franck’s output did not gain much recognition during his lifetime and today he remains in relative obscurity. That said, The Accursed Huntsman is an incredibly thrilling and melodic work.
Viv McLean is an IWSO audience (and orchestra) favourite and we are delighted he makes his return to Medina Theatre once again to play George Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F. Originally entitled New York Concerto, Gershwin began composing it in 1925 with the last movement completed within three months. He then went on to complete the first and second movements and fully orchestrated it himself. The form is relatively classical but it is the jazz elements that set it apart. The first movement employs a Charleston rhythm and is quick and pulsating. The second movement has a poetic nocturnal atmosphere as a form of blues with the final movement reverts to the style of the first.
Samuel Colerdge-Taylor’s Othello Suite was composed in 1909 following a commission by the actor and theatre impresario Herbert Beerbohm. He wanted incidental music to a production of Shakespeare’s play at His Majesty’s Theatre in London. The suite comprises five movements from that incidental music and is operatic and grand, including both a military and funeral march.
Till Eulenspiegel has become such an audience favourite. It’s one of those magical pieces of music in which everything—form, content, technique, and colour—combine to represent the protagonist, Till Eulenspiegel, the 14th Century prankster and rogue. It is a symphonic tone poem, a piece intended to tell a story. Like other Strauss works, it is something of a self-portrait. Behind his steely self-control is a rather disreputable character, thumbing his nose at moral norms with some spectacular musical effects which push the envelope of acceptable dissonance.