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Hear Tchaikovsky's Rococo Roots in Haydn and Mozart

 

The passion and precision of the late Baroque era comes to the Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall on Sunday 17 January for the latest in the University of Leeds International Concert Series, with a Tchaikovsky gem bookended by two 18th century works that inspired it.

The Orchestra of Opera North and their award-winning Principal Cello Jessica Burroughs come under the skilled baton of Dutch conductor Jac Van Steen for a thrilling programme that ranges from the sunlit uplands of Haydn’s last Paris Symphony to the wild, dark finale of Mozart’s ‘Great G Minor Symphony’, via Tchaikovsky’s neoclassical Variations on a Rococo Theme, which shows the influence of both.

Haydn’s Paris Symphonies were composed for the unusually large Orchestra of the Olympic Masonic Lodge and first performed in the Tuileries Palace, the musicians clad in flamboyant sky blue dress coats with lace ruffles and swords at their sides. The sixth in the series, the Symphony No.87 in A Major is full of Haydn’s usual wit, passion and inventiveness, and includes a memorable extended solo for the oboe.

Often thought of as Tchaikovsky’s cello concerto, the Variations on a Rococo Theme are scored for an orchestra based on the late 18th-century model, a tribute to his rôle model Mozart which also shows the influence of Haydn’s form. Prompted by the great Russian cellist Karl Davidov’s complaint that the cello was badly served for solo pieces, they are a wonderfully challenging work-out for both soloist and orchestra.

The Symphony No. 40 in G minor by Tchaikovsky’s foremost role model, Mozart, provides another contrast. Intensely emotional, it is often thought to be a direct reflection of the composer’s difficult later years. According to the musicologist Alfred Einstein, there are passages that ‘plunge to the abyss of the soul’ – but to Robert Schumann the symphony was a work of ‘Grecian lightness and grace’, a testament to the powerful ambiguity in the works of this troubled genius.

The University of Leeds International Concert Series brings a wide range of music, from the 15th to 21st centuries, to the magnificent Clothworkers’ Centenary Concert Hall, which dates from 1878 - the year after the premiere of the Tchaikovsky symphony.

The concert begins at 4pm on Sunday 17 January. Tickets, priced at £20 (students and under 16s free) can be purchased online at concerts.leeds.ac.uk or by calling the Box Office on 0113 3432584.

Another Russian neoclassical masterpiece, Stravinsky’s Concerto in D, is performed alongside works by Haydn and Mozart by the Royal Northern Sinfonia at Dewsbury Town Hall on Thursday 28 January.

 

LISTING

MUSIC: The Orchestra of Opera North: Haydn, Tchaikovsky and Mozart
Sunday 17 January, 4pm
Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall, University of Leeds, 12 Cavendish Rd, Leeds LS2 9JT

The Orchestra of Opera North and their award-winning Principal Cello Jessica Burroughs come under the skilled baton of Dutch conductor Jac Van Steen for a thrilling programme ranging from the sunlit uplands of Haydn’s last Paris Symphony to the wild, dark finale of Mozart’s ‘Great G Minor Symphony’, via Tchaikovsky’s neo-classical Variations on a Rococo Theme, which shows the influence of both.
Tickets: £20, students and under 16s free
Box Office: 0113 3432584
Online: http://store.leeds.ac.uk/

MUSIC:Royal Northern Sinfonia: Haydn, Mozart, Stravinsky
Thursday 28 January, 7.30pm
Dewsbury Town Hall, Wakefield Old Road, Dewsbury WF12 8DG

One of the delights of a performance by the Royal Northern Sinfonia is the palpable joy in their music-making. Stravinsky’s neoclassical Concerto in D was composed in Hollywood in 1946. Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante is a distillation of his genius: from the grace and poise of the opening movement, to the deep sadness of the central andante, to the high-spirited fun of the finale. Haydn’s famous ‘Farewell’ Symphony is so called because in the last movement the musicians leave the stage by turns, leaving just two violins to finish the work.
Tickets: £9 - £19, 13 or under £1, 14-26 year-olds £4.00
Box Office: 01924 324501
Online: www.kirkleestownhalls.co.uk

 

IMAGE: Jessica Burroughs with ON Orchestra - credit Tom Arber

Jessica Burroughs with ON Orchestra - credit Tom Arber