Next Concert
Sibelius Karelia Suite
Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 1 in F# minor
Sibelius Symphony No. 1, Op. 39 in E minor 
Friday 8 December 2017, 7:30pm
St James's Church, 197 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9LL

Adrian Brown, conductor
Drew Steanson, piano

Buy tickets online now

Tickets: £17, £15, £10 (concessions £3 off)

Finland’s early history is characterised by Russian domination. Sibelius was an ardent nationalist, and his music became a rallying cry for the Finnish people in their fight for linguistic, cultural and political independence. One of his earliest pieces was the incidental music for a patriotic play performed by students in Karelia. In 1896 Sibelius took three of these pieces and mashed them together into the Karelia Orchestral Suite you will hear this evening. A few years later, Sibelius began sketching the First Symphony. Ironically, many have pointed out how Russian this symphony is - borrowing much from Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5. However, this symphony, like Finlandia composed that same year, is far from Russian - it is fiercely nationalistic and patriotic.

Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 1 was Nordic inspired. He adapted the entire musical structure of the outer movements of the Grieg Piano Concerto to create it in 1891. This Concerto lived in the shadow of his later concerti, but in recent years, consensus has been building that this neglect is unjust. Although it does not have the great themes and orchestration of the later concerti, the First is a lively, ebullient work that brimming with youthful enthusiasm, and it has gradually taken its place in the concert pianist repertoire.