In a highlight of the 2017 BBC Proms, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) and their music director the young Lithuanian conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla explore the theme of political and artistic freedom through three great works by Beethoven and Stravinsky, and a world premiere from Irish composer Gerald Barry.
The evening begins with Leonore Overture No. 3, the fiery opening to Beethoven's opera Fidelio, which tells the classic tale of the triumph of truth over tyranny. Stravinsky's neoclassical Violin Concerto in D Major follows; commissioned for the young Polish virtuoso Samuel Dushkin and performed here by the celebrated violinist Leila Josefowicz, the work was composed and premiered by in 1931, then later choreographed by George Balanchine as "Balustrade" in 1941.
The concert's second half opens with the world premiere of Gerald Barry's Canada, for tenor and orchestra, which uses the text from Fidelio's Prisoners' Chorus to explore revolutionary events in Canada's history. The renowned English tenor Allan Clayton joins the CBSO and Gražinytė-Tyla for this BBC commission. Then Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C minor—a revolutionary work that rewrote the rules for the Classical symphony—brings the evening to a majestic close.
Photo: Mirga Gražinyte-Tyla © Frans Jansen