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Fantastic Beasts

Mendelssohn, Saint-Saëns, Royer & Parry

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Fantastic Beasts could mean any number of things when it comes to classical music. So it's any number of things we've given you with these five works.

Our first work is a story of structure and instrumentation that doesn't fit under any standard classical label: Mendelssohn's “Lobgesang”, which is a combination of symphony and cantata that even Mendelssohn struggled to classify when he completed it in 1840. Next comes a trio of French works. First Saint-Saëns' Carnival of the Animals, a work so fantastical and funny that Saint-Saëns' refused to have it either publicly performed or published during his lifetime for fear it would detract from his reputation as a serious composer; and whilst we don't usually programme two works from the same composer in one collection, we have done here because we thought it'd be fun to show you exactly the sort of thing Saint-Saëns was worried about Carnival detracting from, and we've chosen his exotic “Egyptian” Piano Concerto No 5, played here by Bertrand Chamayou. Those of you worrying a consequent Saint-Saëns overload, don't worry, we've thought of that too, because between those two works we've slipped in an eighteenth century harpsichord palate cleanser: Vertigo, by Royer. Then we go out with a shout, with the fantastic beast of a choral work that is Parry's I Was Glad.

Curation: Charlotte Gardner

Speaker: Charlotte Gardner

Visual Art: Philipp Nicolai Hertel

  • Fantastic Beasts

  • An introduction to Mendelssohn — Symphony No. 2 in B flat major op. 52 »Lobgesang«

  • Symphony No. 2 in B flat major op. 52 »Lobgesang« Preview Only

    Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy

    Herbert von Karajan, Berliner Philharmoniker, Edith Mathis, Liselotte Rebmann, Werner Hollweg, Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin1972
  • An introduction to Saint-Saëns — Carnival of the Animals »Zoological fantasy for 2 Pianos & Ensemble«

  • Carnival of the Animals »Zoological fantasy for 2 Pianos & Ensemble« Preview Only

    Camille Saint-Saëns

    Orchestra dell' Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Sir Antonio Pappano, Martha Argerich2016
  • An introduction to Royer — Le Vertigo, Rondeau. Modérément (Pièces de clavecin, Premier livre)

  • Le Vertigo, Rondeau. Modérément (Pièces de clavecin, Premier livre) Preview Only

    Pancrace Royer

    Jean Rondeau2015
  • An introduction to Saint-Saëns — Piano Concerto No. 5 in F major op. 103 »Egyptian«

  • Piano Concerto No. 5 in F major op. 103 »Egyptian« Preview Only

    Camille Saint-Saëns

    Bertrand Chamayou, Orchestre National de France, Emmanuel Krivine2017
  • An introduction to Parry — I was glad

  • I was glad Preview Only

    Hubert Parry

    The Choir of King's College Cambridge, New Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Military School of Music Band, Philip Ledger

(Preview Only)