If ever there was a piece of music ripe for discovery, it’s the Violin Concerto by Benjamin Britten. Emma McGrath, soloist in this concert, says ‘I cannot recall a concerto as emotional as this.’ Written in the late 1930s, Britten’s Violin Concerto seems to capture the anxiety and melancholy of a world on the brink of collapse. It is robust and passionate, haunting, bittersweet and very, very beautiful.
Few composers were as naturally gifted as Felix Mendelssohn. His overture to Victor Hugo’s play Ruy Blas was dashed off in a matter of days. Mendelssohn devoted rather more time to the Scottish Symphony, which was written in the wake of an extended tour of Scotland, a country whose wild and untamed landscapes captivated and thrilled him.