2 November 2018: The Courtyard, Hereford
6 November 2018: Stratford Play House
7 November 2018: Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
8 November 2018: Cheltenham Town Hall
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Overture, ‘The Marriage of Figaro’
- Felix Mendelssohn – Violin Concerto in E minor, Op.64
- Felix Mendelssohn – Sinfonia for Strings No.6 in E flat major
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Symphony No.25 in G minor, K.183
Reviewing a performance (by OOTS, of course) of “The six movements extracted from Mendelssohn’s version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, in May 2016, I contended that the composer I have subsequently named my cat after…
…was an undoubted genius…. That he produced his first violin concerto – not the one [you will] be singing for the next week… – when still in shorts; followed it not much later with a string octet that has never been beaten; wrote some great oratorios; magnificent symphonies; and some of the best piano pieces I have ever managed, fumblingly, to play – all before dying at a stupidly young age (not much older than Mozart, indeed) – should be evidence enough. But anyone who can transform an orchestra into a braying donkey must rank amongst the very greatest composers of all time!
Tonight’s Sinfonia for Strings – the sixth of a set of twelve, written between the astonishing ages of twelve and fourteen – can also be slotted easily into this prodigy’s long list of precocious masterworks: his command of the smaller orchestra (and particularly of strings) easily on a par with this concert’s other great wunderkind, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
And, although the temptation is to dream of, say, Mendelssohn’s Fifteenth Symphony, or Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.67 (alleging, perhaps, that “only the good die young”), I would prefer to concentrate on the incredibly long list of incredibly wonderful works that thankfully survive from their abbreviated existences (Mozart dying at thirty-five, Mendelssohn at thirty-eight) – both, like Schubert (dead at thirty-one), perhaps, compelled by some premonition to communicate as much of the beauty they found in and around themselves as frequently and urgently as possible.
Interestingly, the works before the interval are both from the composers’ later outputs; whereas those following are the earlier pieces. However, all four compositions are readily matched in style to their creators: their maturity having ripened – if not come totally to fruition – during their temperate teenage years.