Fateful FourthThu 21 February 2019
THE GREAT HALL, UNIVERSITY OF EXETER
Kees Bakels conductor
Ronald Brautigam piano
Among his most popular works, the Fourth Symphony is a meticulously structured meditation on Fate written at a time of great emotional turmoil. As Tchaikovsky admitted, it is autobiographical; turbulent but finally triumphant. The principal idea of the work is the implacability of Fate, a force that “poisons the soul” by impeding the individual’s quest for peace and fulfilment. In a glorious burst of activity, Mozart composed twelve superlative piano concertos from February 1784 to December 1786. They were deeper in feeling, broader in scope and richer in colour than any he had written before.
No.21 is built on a fully symphonic scale, with an orchestral backing that matches the solo part for interest and variety. Mozart balances forcefulness, elegance and wit with perfect ease. The dreamlike andante is based on the simplest of materials; its effect, nevertheless, is magical whilst the concluding rondo echoes with the laughter of comic opera. The much earlier Symphony No.26 is nevertheless scattered with dramatic touches reminiscent of the ‘Sturm und Drang’ symphonies of Haydn.
Mozart Symphony No.26
Mozart Piano Concerto No.21 K.467
Tchaikovsky Symphony No.4