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Covent Garden Chamber Orchestra play Dvorák and Brahms

Saturday February 2, 2019 at 19:30
St Peter's Church, Notting Hill, London
£15. £12 (over 60/student) £7 (under 16)
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  1. Concerto for Cello and Orchestra in B minor Op 104 - Antonín Dvorák
  2. Symphony No 1 in C minor Op 68 - Johannes Brahms

Come and join us to banish the late winter blues with these two incredible orchestral works from the late 19th Century. Working for the first time with conductor Robin Newton, we’re welcoming cellist Pavlos Carvalho to perform Dvorák's Cello Concerto with the orchestra.

Dvorák's Cello Concerto, written in 1894, is sumptuous and virtuosic. It’s one of the first of its kind, opening up new possibilities for the solo cello. Like the New World Symphony, it hails from Dvorák's American period and has the same sense of homesick longing. Yet there is far more to the cello concerto than initially meets the ear. Homesickness tells only half the tale. His wife, Anna, was with him in America, whom he had married only after courting and being turned down by her elder sister, Josefina. At that time, he had started an early cello concerto, an expression of his love. Now, in America, he learned that Josefina was seriously ill – and began another cello concerto. Into it, he wove Josefina’s favourite of his songs, called ‘Leave me alone’ that is heard most achingly in the wonderful slow movement.

Brahms began working on his first symphony in the early 1860s. By the time he finished the piece, in September 1876, he had been living for more than a decade in Vienna, where Beethoven had produced many of his greatest works. Indeed, throughout his career as a composer, Brahms sensed the shadow of Beethoven looming over him and hoped to be considered on his own merits, without being compared to the man who would come to be widely regarded as the greatest composer in the Western classical tradition. The conductor Hans von Bülow called the symphony 'Beethoven's Tenth', due to perceived similarities between the it and various Beethoven compositions. It is often remarked that there is a strong resemblance between the main theme of the finale of Brahms's First Symphony and the main theme of the finale of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Brahms himself said, when comment was made on the similarity with Beethoven, "any ass can see that". Nevertheless, this work is still sometimes referred to as 'Beethoven's Tenth'.

St Peter's Church, Notting Hill
Kensington Park Road
W11 2PN
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