Our Next Concert

Welcome in Spring at our Second Concert


Felix Mendelssohn

Ruy Blas Overture

Felix Mendelssohn

Violin Concerto in E Minor

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Symphony No. 2 in C Minor


Sunday 3rd September 2017 at 3pm
Albert Hall, Yarralumla, A.C.T. Australia


Ruy Blas Overture

Felix Mendelssohn

Felix Mendelssohn was feeling rather miffed.

The Leipzig Theatrical Pension Fund had commissioned him to compose an overture and a song for a benefit performance of Victor Hugo’s 1838 play ‘Ruy Blas’, a sordid tale of passions, dark intents and murder. The problem was that Felix hated the play, privately declaring it to be “quite detestable”. He managed to write the song, but couldn’t find the passion to compose the overture.

The disappointed Pension Fund thanked Mendelssohn for the song and said they hoped that with more warning he might be able to produce the Overture for a performance in the following year.

Realising, it was not a good look, that a few months notice was seemingly insufficient for him to write a short work, Mendelssohn bristled, found the necessary passion, and composed the whole overture in a just three days…

Violin Concerto in E Minor

Felix Mendelssohn

Felix Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64, is his last large orchestral work. It forms an important part of the violin repertoire and is one of the most popular and most frequently performed violin concertos in history.

Mendelssohn originally proposed the idea of the violin concerto to Ferdinand David, a close friend and then concertmaster of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. Although conceived in 1838, the work took another six years to complete and was not premiered until 1845. During this time, Mendelssohn maintained a regular correspondence with David, who gave him many suggestions. The work itself was one of the foremost violin concertos of the Romantic era and was influential on many other composers.

The concerto was well received and soon became regarded as one of the greatest violin concertos of all time. The concerto remains popular to this day and has developed a reputation as an essential concerto for all aspiring concert violinists to master, and usually one of the first Romantic era concertos they learn. Many professional violinists have recorded the concerto and the work is regularly performed in concerts and classical music competitions.

The concerto consists of three movements:

  1. Allegro molto appassionato (E minor)
  2. Andante (C major)
  3. Allegretto non troppo – Allegro molto vivace (E major)



Symphony No. 2 in C Minor

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 2 in C minor, Op. 17 was composed in 1872. One of Tchaikovsky's joyful compositions, it was successful right from its premiere. Because Tchaikovsky used three Ukrainian folk songs to great effect in this work, it was nicknamed the "Little Russian".

Despite its initial success, Tchaikovsky was not satisfied with the symphony. He revised the work extensively in 1879-80, substantially rewriting the opening movement and shortening the finale. This revision is the version of the symphony usually performed today, although there have also been supporters of the original version.

Tchaikovsky wrote much of the Little Russian Symphony during his summer holiday at Kamianka in Ukraine with his sister Aleksandra's family, the Davydovs. The Davydov estate had become the composer's favourite refuge. His affection for the estate bore fruit in his using local songs in the symphony he was writing. He even once wrote, in jest, that true credit for the Little Russian's finale should have gone "to the real composer of the said work—Peter Gerasimovich." Gerasimovich, the elderly butler in the Davydov household, sang the folk-song "The Crane" to Tchaikovsky while the composer was working on the symphony.

The Symphony consists of four movements:

  1. Andante sostenuto—Allegro vivo (C minor).
  2. Andantino marziale, quasi moderato (E-flat major).
  3. Scherzo. Allegro molto vivace (C minor).
  4. Finale. Moderato assai—Allegro vivo (C major).

[Notes condensed from Wikipedia]