Ralph Vaughan Williams, affectionately known as VW, was commissioned by the ‘Cambridge Greek Play Committee’ to compose incidental music for The Wasps, a satirical comedy by Aristophanes. The Overture, which survives robustly as a separate concert item, never fails to please with its folksy tunes and irrepressible high spirits. It has little to do with wasps and absolutely nothing at all to do with Greece, but no-one seems to mind about that. When you hear the overture you may well think, ‘Hey! I know this music!’ And you may think the same with Johannes Brahms’s Variations on the ‘St Anthony Chorale’. The theme is a winner, and the variations are packed with character and contrast. Incidentally, Brahms had been
told that the Chorale was by Joseph Haydn but subsequent research suggests another hand, possibly that of Ignaz Pleyel – hence the alternative title. Gustav Mahler’s Fourth Symphony is a great favourite, not least because of its hugely appealing last movement, which is a vocal setting of verses from German folk poetry, the symphonic version being an adaptation of a song Mahler wrote some eight years earlier. The poem speaks of a child’s vision of heaven while in an earlier movement, a solo violin reminds one of the Devil and his fiddle. The huge emotional range, the extensive palette of musical colour and the wealth of delightful melodies combine to make this concert unmissable.
The CCSO is delighted to welcome Emily Garland who sings the solo part in the final movement. Many will recollect her fine performance of ‘Four Last Songs’ with the CCSO last February.
The Variations by Brahms will be conducted by Sean Dunn, winner
of the CCSO’s first conducting competition.
Admission: £18, £16 (concessions), £8 (students), £5 (under 14)
- Phone: 01223 300085 (12:30 - 16:00 on Monday, 12:30 - 19:00 Tuesday - Friday, and 15:00 - 19:00 on Saturday).
- In person: ADC Box Office, Park St, Cambridge, CB5 8AS – just off Jesus Lane