Robert Gerhard: Dances from Don Quixote (1940-1941; rev. 1958) 15′
Camille Saint-Saëns: Cello and orchestra concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 33 (1872) 18′
Hector Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique, Op. 14 (1830) 55’
Barcelona Symphony Orchestra (OBC)
Pablo Ferrández, cello
Juanjo Mena, conductor
PROGRAMThe evocation of Spanish imaginary from afar, by Robert Gerhard, and the transformation of French symphonic language in the nineteenth century are the main features of this programme. Gerhard’s Dances from Don Quixote is a suite in three parts, drawn from the ballet Don Quixote which the composer wrote in 1940 after going into exile in England because of the Spanish Civil War. On this occasion, as a way of introducing himself to the English musical establishment, Gerhard turned to Cervantes’ immortal classic, synthesising figures from the Spanish tradition with a very personal use of the twelve-tone technique. The characters are not portrayed via leitmotifs or recurring themes but through distinctive serialist sequences.
Camille Saint-Saëns’ Cello Concerto No. 1 did much to enhance the composer’s reputation and is undeniably at the forefront of the cello repertoire. Its formal composition is highly original, with three clearly differentiated sections in a single movement.
In 1830, Héctor Berlioz radically transformed the concept of the symphony with a programmatic work entitled Symphonie fantastique: Épisode de la vie d’un artiste … en cinq parties. This work breaks the moulds inherited from the eighteenth century and develops from a recurring or cyclical musical idea (idée fixe), which represents the trials and tribulations of the author’s love life. The Symphonie Fantastique is a precursor of Romantic programme music, which found full expression in the work of Liszt and Wagner.