Period performance specialist Christian Curnyn conducts a little tour of musical history, ending with Beethoven’s debut symphony.
To begin with, Michael Tippett’s 20th-century interpretation of the music of Corelli is preceded by its Baroque starting point.
The concerto grosso is a 17th-century form alternating loud and soft passages. Corelli’s approach is marked by controlled elegance.
Commissioned in 1953 to mark three centuries since Corelli’s birth, Tippett’s homage is an elaborate set of variations for two violins, a cello and a double string orchestra. It’s the perfect vehicle for the popular composer’s flights of imagination.
The 18th-century French composer Rameau, contemporary of Bach, was hailed in his time and then forgotten. His opera Les Boréades was written when he was nearly 80, but not staged until over 200 years after his death.
What we’ve been missing out on is some unmistakably sensuous and infectiously rhythmic music.
Beethoven's witty and energetic Symphony No.1 completes the evening. It looks back to the music of past masters Mozart and Haydn while also providing hints of the genius that marked Beethoven's later mastery of the form.
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