Stravinsky – Orpheus (29’)
Dvořák – Cello Concerto in B minor (39’)
Martinů – Symphony No. 4 (33’)
A really fascinating programme, this, with John Storgårds conducting the BBC Philharmonic with three works written by European composers in the United States. The earliest to make the journey was Antonin Dvořák, who left his Prague home in 1892 to take up the directorship of a prestigious music college in New York. He stayed for just three years, but the experience inspired some of his best-known and best-loved music – the ‘New World’ Symphony, whose second movement may be familiar as the theme to the old Hovis TV commercial, and the magnificent Cello Concerto, performed here by soloist Andrei Ioniță.
Fellow Czech composer Bohuslav Martinů followed in Dvořák’s footsteps nearly 50 years later, but under very different circumstances – blacklisted by the Nazis, he fled to take shelter during the Second World War. Four years after his 1941 arrival, the Germans were vanquished – and Martinů marked the moment with the majestic Fourth Symphony. The third work on the programme is Orpheus by Igor Stravinsky, whose relationship with the US blossomed so much after his 1939 move to California that he was eventually given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Andrei Ioniță – cello
John Storgårds – conductor
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