As we head for a bit of a ’storm’ I bring you a quotation from Vivian Greene, Life’s not about waiting for the storm to pass… It’s about learning to dance in the rain! Out with those brollies and bring on the music.
To get us all going with those morning chores with something rousing – and goodness don’t we need it – I commend this performance of Shostakovich’s Waltz No 2 from his Jazz Suite No 2. by the hilarious Croatian cellist, Sthepan Hauser (ladies it’s your turn to swoon!)  Written in 1938, the score was lost during WW2 but the piano score was rediscovered in 1999. The three movements of the suite were reconstructed and premiered at the London Proms in 2000.  

Time for the ‘coffee concertissimo’ so on with the kettle and click the link to Peter Hewitt as he performs Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata Op 13, 1st Movement with its wonderfully dramatic and turbulent opening. 

I do hope that you are able to watch the many performances that are available on the internet in comfort, on your TV.   One of the events that might appeal is this year’s prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society awards. On 18th November 7pm you can watch a film featuring performances by several of this year’s nominees. Sheku Kanneh-Mason is on the shortlist. For more information visit the RPS website

Mendelssohn is quoted as saying, “Art and life are not two separate things”  which brings on another little diversion, the enlightening talk from the National Gallery giving a tour of the Artemisia Exhibition.  One of the positive outcomes of the previous lockdown is that amazing arts programmes which briefly take us off into another world, are now accessible.  Also, did you know that even if you are not signed up to SKY, ‘Sky Arts’ is now available for us all to watch via the normal channels.

Thinking of Christmas presents?  Struggling to think of what to buy for that hard-to find-the-right-present-person?  CM might have the answer – make them a  ‘Friend of The London Mozart Players’ .  No postage, or wrapping, needed.  Problem solved and you have the satisfaction of knowing that your ‘hardtofindtherightpresentperson’ is not only getting access to some stunning concerts, but is also supporting some of this country’s greatest musicians, young musicians and of course our very special violinist, Ruth Rogers during this desperate time.

Time for some more music:  Max Bruch’s violin Concerto No 1 in G minor Op 26 is one of my absolute favourite works particularly the luxurious, romantic Adagio performed in this recording by Itzhak Perlman.  Championed by Joseph Joachim who was “responsible for bringing the Beethoven, Brahms and Mendelssohn violin concertos into the orchestral ‘fold’, Bruch’s was more dear to him than any, describing it as, ‘the richest and most seductive of them all due to it’s soaring melodies, lush and passionate orchestral writing and devilishly difficult virtuoso passages for the violin’.” Dave Koipplin. It is one of those works that seem to make any troubles melt away.

Guy Fawkes day is coming up –  as if you need reminding! It is hard to know to which parliament to signpost him in these incredible times!  However, it brings Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks to mind!  The work was commissioned by King George II to celebrate the Treaty of Aix-La-Chapelle celebrating the end of the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–48).  Handel composed it in 1749 for performance at an outdoor festival. Its first performance preceded a fireworks display.   Handel attached descriptive titles to the two central movements: the third movement is called “La Paix” (“The Peace”) in honour of the treaty itself, and the fourth is called “La Réjouissance” (“The Rejoicing”) to commemorate the mood of elation that followed.  

This next work, Sir Edward Elgar’s- ‘We will Remember Them is well worth taking just two minutes to listen whilst cherishing the freedom that we have all enjoyed for so long, given to us with the lives of so many.  For some, the work is perhaps more poignant than ever this year as the message about the responsibility that comes with that freedom may hopefully dawn.

And finally, if you feel that you need a little bit of cheer as we head for Lockdown Mark II then this little girl playing Johann Strauss II’s Tritsch-Trasch Polka on a balalaika is guaranteed to bring on a smile. The expression on her face of sheer enjoyment is infectious!
With every possible good wish,
Jan 

Music for Lockdown 22