Sunday 03 November 2024, 3pm

Guest Conductor TBC
Ke Ma, Piano

HANDEL ed. BAINES/MACKERRAS Music for the Royal Fireworks, HWV. 351

DOHNÁNYI Variations on a Nursery Tune, Op. 25

DVOŘÁK Symphony No. 7 in D minor, Op. 70

Apart from being a world famous conductor, Sir Charles Mackerras was also a prolific arranger of music. One of the pieces he arranged was Handel’s – Music for the Royal Fireworks; it is this arrangement that opens today’s concert. The music takes the form of a Baroque dance suite, and with the augmented brass, woodwind and percussion sections there will certainly be plenty of fireworks!

Anyone unfamiliar with the Variations on a Nursery Tune by Ernst von Dohnányi will be in for a surprise. Maybe the title indicates a simplistic work but it certainly is not! After a dramatic orchestral opening which last for nearly four minutes, the piano finally enters with a Nursery tune which we have probably all sung at some point. Pianist Ke Ma stepped in at very short notice to play Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 27 with the RTWSO in October 2022. She wowed the Assembly Hall audience on that occasion, and we are delighted to welcome her back. Sit back and enjoy this charming piece.

The fact that Dvořák was one of the world’s first train-spotters gave rise to the composition of his Symphony No. 7. When he was at Prague railway station not only looking at trains but also celebrating the return of compatriots following political struggles abroad, the sense of occasion coupled with his own fervent patriotism and desire for a peaceful country existence, got to him. He resolved that his new symphony – his seventh – would embrace these feelings.