VAUGHAN WILLIAMS The Wasps: Overture
RACHMANINOV Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
BUTTERWORTH The Banks of Green Willow
ELGAR ‘Enigma’ Variations
Christoph Altstaedt Conductor
Clare Hammond Piano
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Vaughan Williams’ animated and bombastic Overture to The Wasps opens an evening of enthralling orchestral classics. Featuring is Rachmaninov’s vivacious Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, performed by pianist Clare Hammond. The piece paints rich Romantic colours with the central melody, ranging from expressions of virtuosic passion to moments of lush, lyrical introspection.
Butterworth’s The Banks of the Green Willow opens the second half, a quintessential piece of English Romanticism with its sublime orchestral reimagining of a traditional folk theme. Perhaps Elgar’s most enduring work, his ‘Enigma’ Variations remains as one of the nation’s best-loved pieces of the orchestral repertoire. A set of musical dedications to dear friends of the composer, the main theme is perhaps performed most memorably in the famous Nimrod movement, which never fails to rouse the feelings of awe and wonder in the listener.