The unmistakeable first four notes of Beethoven’s Fifth together constitute the most famous clarion call in classical music, so striking and influential that American music critic Matthew Guerrieri recently wrote an entire book about them. There is, though, much more to the Fifth than that familiar da-da-da-DUM opening – this is, in many regards, the best of Beethoven, demonstrating the intensity and power that made and continues to cement his reputation as music’s greatest symphonist. Guest conductor Nicholas Collon should be a dynamic guide through the Fifth, which is performed tonight alongside three pieces written a century or more later: Sibelius’s eclectic Six Humoresques, for which the orchestra will be joined by violinist James Ehnes, and two rarities from the never-dull Igor Stravinsky – Apollo, a delicious ballet for strings alone, and the punchy Symphonies of Wind Instruments, which shows off another wing of the BBC Philharmonic.
Nicholas Collon – Conductor
James Ehnes – Violin