Venue Details: Portsmouth Guildhall
- Brahms : Violin Concerto
- Schubert : Symphony No.8 "Unfinished"
- Stravinsky : Firebird Suite
Brahms’ Violin Concerto, with its nearly symphonic proportions and technical challenges has inspired the admiration and awe of concert audiences for more than 130 years. Despite some early critical misgivings, it has long since become one of the pillars of the concerto repertoire. It demands extraordinary skills from the soloist, though it is never showy for its own sake. It encompasses tender lyricism, brilliant vigour and numerous Hungarian folk rhythms that Brahms himself so loved.
No-one really knows why Schubert never finished his B minor symphony. With numerous other aborted fragments it may well have been that he was growing dissatisfied with symphonic form as he had been practising it and was striving for something on a far larger scale, something to compare with the dramatic energy and scope shown by Beethoven. But with these two most perfect movements, Schubert ushered in the age of the Romantic symphony - the variety and immediacy of the themes suffusing the work are breathtaking.
Stravinsky’s ballet The Firebird belongs to his first creative period, when his music still showed the influence of the colourful, folk-based style favoured by his teacher, Rimsky-Korsakov. The 1919 suite contains roughly half the music of the complete score and follows the sequence of the original scenario. With the help of a magic firebird, the hero, Prince Ivan, rescues a group of spellbound princesses from the clutches of an evil magician, Kastcheï. Stravinsky’s music is highly atmospheric, imaginative and melodious and the whirling, nightmarish Infernal Dance is a tour de force of orchestral brilliance.
Pre-Concert Talk: 6.40 - 7.10pm
Free to all ticket-holders. Find out more here.