Friday 30 October
Rossini, Fauré, Mendelssohn, Schubert
RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra
Overture to L’italiana in Algeri
Intermezzo, Nocturne and Scherzo from A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Symphony No. 5
The magic of romance and the romance of magic offer two sides of the same glittering coin in an evening of unabashed emotions, thrilling make-believe and music to excite, enthral and entertain.
Composed, legend has it, in not much more than a fortnight and less than month, Rossini’s L’italiana in Algeri, a frolicking romantic farce with an exotic setting, proved to be the smash-hit comedy of its day. Slowly turning the volume up to 11, the wonderfully brisk, bright cascade of colour that is the Overture sparkles and shines with knowing wit, warming lyricism and a few dramatic surprises up its sleeve.
Fauré’s lilting, hypnotically undulating Pavane, a graceful display of French elegance carried aloft by the soft, subtle rhythm of a Spanish court dance, has inspired ballets, accompanied countless commercials and even been sampled by the likes of Iron Maiden and Little Mix.
The 17-year-old Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of the truly great orchestral showpieces: a brilliant kaleidoscope of overflowing lyricism, filigree-delicate melodies and enchantment woven seamlessly together with silver-spun orchestrations that bring Shakespeare’s fairy realm to vivacious life in time for Halloween.
Its atmospheric Intermezzo finds Shakespeare’s young lovers lost and fearful in the forest, their anxiety countered by the comic caperings of Bottom and his rude mechanicals. The ever-popular Scherzo conjures the darting, dancing fairies animatedly assembling, the haunting Nocturne laying claim to being one of Mendelssohn’s most beautiful melodies.
Schubert was in the last of his teenage years when he composed his buoyant, free-flowing Fifth Symphony. With a Mozartian spring in its step, it’s as zesty and sophisticated as anything he wrote. At its heart is an exquisite slow movement, tinged with aching melancholy and boasting a magical, melting dialogue between woodwinds and strings. Its finale brims over with captivating exuberance.
National Concert Hall
National Concert Hall, Earlsfort Terrace, IrelandOpen Larger Map