Yannick Nézet-Séguin - Conductor
Emanuel Ax - Piano
Haydn - Symphony No. 92 ("Oxford")
Beethoven - Piano Concerto No. 3
Vaughan Williams - Symphony No. 4
Friday, March 6, 2015
Beethoven is surrounded by British bookends in this concert led by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Haydn’s Symphony No. 92, the “Oxford,” earned its name because the great composer performed it on the occasion of receiving an honorary degree from the University. Emanuel Ax solos in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3. The story goes that at its premiere performance, Beethoven hadn’t had time to finish copying out the score, so he played most of the solo part from memory. Ax is sure to amaze in this concert favorite. Unlike his first three symphonies, Vaughan Williams’s Symphony No. 4 has no title beyond a number. It also departed from the English pastoralism of his earlier works, in favor of a more powerful and progressive approach. Some listeners have discerned a criticism of the rise of Fascism in the work (premiered in 1935), an interpretation Vaughan Williams himself rejected. He wanted it to be heard as “pure music,” without any theme or program. You can come to your own conclusions by visiting Verizon Hall for this outstanding concert.
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