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Episode 4

2 hours, 30 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 26 April 2013

A week of programmes with the BBC National of Orchestra of Wales, featuring works by Schumann and music inspired by springtime.

Presented by Katie Derham.

Our week celebrating Spring concludes with a breathtaking performance of Stravinsky's ground-breaking ballet, The Rite of Spring. This year marks the centenary of the first performance in May 1913 in Paris - when a riotous reception marked the moment that music changed for ever. The only rioting from this performance with conductor Thierry Fischer is the applause by the St. David's Hall audience in Cardiff.

Before that, we catch up with the BBC NOW and Principal Conductor Thomas Søndergård on their recent springtime tour of North Wales. Sibelius is always a favourite with Thomas, and he opens this concert from Bangor with his first set of Scenes historiques - three vibrant musical pictures from Finnish history, of vital nationalist importance at a time of increasing oppression by Russia. As in Monday's programme, Principal Clarinet Robert Plane takes the solo spot, this time with the concerto by Radio 3's composer of the week, Carl Nielsen, for whom the clarinet was capable of being "simultaneously warm-hearted and completely hysterical, as mild as balm, and screaming like a tramcar on poorly greased rails". Rest assured that orchestra and soloist live up to the composer's promise. Similarly, Beethoven's ever popular Fifth Symphony doesn't disappoint, in this electric performance to a capacity audience at the Pritchard Jones Hall at the University of Bangor University. Such was the popularity of this concert that last-minute would-be concert-goers were turned away as the hall was completely full.

To complete the week, we turn for the final time to our featured composer Robert Schumann and another iconic crowd-pleaser, his Piano Concerto. The soloist in this concert from the Brangwyn Hall in Swansea was John Lill, here at the very peak of his expressive power, shaping the phrases with superlative authority. A recording very definitely not to be missed.

Sibelius: Scenes historiques - Suite no. 1, Op. 25
Nielsen: Clarinet Concerto, Op. 57
Beethoven: Symphony no. 5 in C minor
Robert Plane (clarinet),
BBC National Orchestra of Wales,
Thomas Søndergård (conductor).

Schumann: Piano Concerto in A minor
John Lill (piano),
BBC National Orchestra of Wales,
Jac van Steen (conductor).

Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring
BBC National Orchestra of Wales,
Thierry Fischer (conductor).

Music Played

5 items



  1. Image for Radio 3 Opera Guides

    Radio 3 Opera Guides

    Radio 3 Guide to the Opera

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