Monday 11 February 2013

Mahler brilliance at St. Andrew's Hall!

On Saturday 9th February 2013 I attended the Norwich Philharmonic Orchestra's concert at St. Andrew's Hall which featured a jolly piece from Brahms and a splendid Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in the first half while after the interval it was the brilliance of Mahler which completed the evening. The Orchestra were conducted by Matthew Andrews with David Greed as soloist for the Mendelssohn piece.

The programme consisted of Academic Festival Overture - Brahms, Violin Concerto in E minor - Mendelssohn and Symphony No.1 The Titan - Mahler. This was a collection of music that guaranteed a very enjoyable night for the large audience in attendance.

The concert started with Brahms' Academic Festival Overture which the composer said was a work full of laughter. Its  musical references to the famous college song Gaudeamus Igitur guarantees a fun time for the audience. The piece was composed in 1880 as a response to Breslau University awarding Brahms an honorary Doctorate of Philosophy as the most famous living German composer of serious music.

Mendelssohn wrote his Violin Concerto for his good friend Ferdinand David, concertmaster of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra where Mendelssohn was principal conductor in 1844. It was an instant success and remains one of the great benchmarks of the genre, with its soaring melodies and virtuoso cadenzas.

Mahler's First Symphony was also written in Leipzig and is sometimes know as 'The Titan'. It is written for a huge orchestra with vivid birdsong in the winds and thrilling horn calls evoking the natural splendours of alpine Austria, memories, it's claimed, from Mahler's childhood. It was mainly composed between late 1887 and March 1888, though it incorporates music Mahler had composed for previous works.

This was a wonderful evening of classical music at St. Andrew's Hall as we were thrilled by the playing of Opera North leader David Greed on Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto while the Norwich Philharmonic gave a truly brilliant performance of Mahler's Titan Symphony with the audience showing their appreciation at the end of the concert. With the fun of Brahms' Academic Festival Overture as well this was definitely a night to remember.

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