Inside Classical “Women’s Words and Voices” 22 May 2022: Episode 1 on BBC Four
The BBC National Orchestra of Wales perform from their home, Hoddinott Hall in the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff, under the baton of one of the world’s most exciting young conductors, Marta Gardolinska.
The concert opens fittingly with Polish composer Grazyna Bacewicz’s Overture for orchestra. Bacewicz was a trailblazer in early 20th-century music, a celebrated female composer who wrote the work in 1943 when her country was under Nazi occupation. The sense of struggle and combat is heard within the piece with the opening rumble of the timpani, the beat of the snare drum and the brass instruments playing fanfares. The work also contains a musical message of hope, with the Morse code for the letter V, dot-dot-dot-dash, beaten out on the timpani, symbolising victory.
The orchestra then welcomes BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist Johan Dalene to perform Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor. Swedish-born Johan, who is 20 years old, began playing the violin when he was four and made his concerto debut three years later. Mendelssohn wrote the work for his friend Ferdinand David, and the piece has become treasured by soloists and audiences worldwide for its lyrical melodies, fine craftsmanship and charm.
The concert ends with the orchestra performing Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony in F minor. Tchaikovsky began this work after his catastrophic marriage, which lasted just two months, to his former student Antonina Miliukova. Emerging from a profound period of writer’s block, struggling with his sexuality, and battling against a heavy bout of depression, it is perhaps unsurprising that the music is urgent, supercharged and, at points, violent.
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About Inside Classical
Series in which the BBC orchestras and their specially invited guests perform concerts in some of the UK’s most prestigious concert halls.
This show is broadcast on BBC Four, also known as the British Broadcasting Corporation.