Respighi – Fountains of Rome (16’)
Walton – Cello Concerto (27’)
Sibelius – Symphony No. 2 (42’)
Portraying landscape and nature in music – in any art form, for that matter – can be treacherously difficult. Landscape is concrete while music is abstract, and making the twain meet has proven beyond more musicians than we’ve time or space to list. These three works, though, do a fine job of capturing the essence of Italy – perhaps unexpectedly, since two of their three composers are most famous for musical connections to other countries. Few composers’ catalogues are as linked to a single nation as Jean Sibelius’s music is to Finland, but his Second Symphony was inspired by and partly written in Rapallo, a handsome town in a plum location on the Italian Riviera. Similarly, while much of William Walton’s music sings of England’s green and pleasant land, his rhapsodic Cello Concerto – performed here by Truls Mørk, the eminent Norwegian cellist – was actually written during a brief sojourn on the Italian island of Ischia. The odd piece out is Ottorino Respighi’s perennial Fountains of Rome, the only Italian job on this programme with an Italian author. John Storgårds is the BBC Philharmonic‘s conductor this evening.
Truls Mørk cello
John Storgårds conductor