A Look at Behind the Lines

RPO resound’s year of Behind the Lines activities culminates in a four-day creative Summer School this August. Hannah Nepil finds out more.

What was Elgar’s favourite ice cream flavour? And was he ever burgled? These were two of the questions posed by children taking part in Behind the Lines, a year-long education project run by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Westminster Music Library, exploring the music of the First World War. And luckily, Elgar specialist Simon Baggs fielded the answers excellently: whilst there is no documentary evidence about Elgar’s favourite flavour, he could regularly be seen coming out of Woolworths in Worcester with an ice! And he was burgled once, in 1918, by two ex-policemen.

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Zukerman and the RPO perform Mozart's miraculous final three symphonies

BACHTRACK

It is maybe ironic that Mozart's final three symphonies (nos. 39, 40 and 41), grand works that epitomise the heights of the Classical era, have been intellectually romanticised in the centuries following his death. It is indeed of one music's marvels that Mozart managed to complete these three extensive works in the summer of 1788, however there has been a prolonged musicological search for an extramusical meaning to these symphonies, with some claiming they might encapsulate Mozart's worldview, a plea for humanitarianism.

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Pinchas Zukerman Summer Music Festival at Cadogan Hall – 3: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – Mozart’s final three Symphonies

CLASSICAL SOURCE

There was perhaps a routine look about this programme. To have the last three Mozart symphonies one after another seemed a pretty unimaginative piece of planning. In the event it was an enthralling and most unusual experience. A modest-sized RPO assembled on Cadogan Hall’s stage, and as we awaited the arrival of Pinchas Zukerman thoughts turned to what kind of performances we could expect.

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