Stephan – Music for Orchestra (1912) (19’)
Walton – Viola Concerto (26’)
Howells – Elegy (9’)
Shostakovich – Symphony No. 9 (25’)
The second of two concerts in the BBC Philharmonic’s 2018-19 season marking the First World War, which ended exactly 100 years ago, opens with a little-performed work by a composer who lost his life while fighting in the conflict. Rudi Stephan was just 28 when he was shot and killed by a sniper on the Eastern Front, and his Music for Orchestra is one of only a few works that he completed during his brutally short life. Born in Gloucestershire five years after Stephan, English composer Herbert Howells was spared wartime conscription due to serious illness, but his Elegy stands as tribute to another composer who went to war and never returned: Francis Purcell Warren, a mere 21 years old when he died fighting at the Battle of the Somme. Conducted by Moritz Gnann, the two other works are scarcely any less moving: William Walton’s haunting Viola Concerto, performed here by soloist Lawrence Power, and Shostakovich’s Ninth Symphony, written as the Second World War drew to a close.
Lawrence Power viola
Moritz Gnann conductor