Sir Simon Rattle conducts Dvořák and Beethoven

London Symphony Orchestra

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Program notes

On September 23, 2020, at the beginning of a season beset by nearly unprecedented complications, Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra were able to come together to ensure that LSO St Luke’s would continue to resound with glorious music, attended by a limited audience but captured on film for viewers like you. The former Anglican church, restored in 2003 to welcome the LSO community, is a perfectly intimate venue for a spectacular evening that includes Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, and a lesser-heard piano masterpiece performed by the acclaimed Peter Donohoe! (See the rest of the program here.)

This portion begins with the first four Slavonic Dances, Op. 46, the set of marvelously effervescent, Bohemian folk-inspired pieces that helped launch the Czech master to international renown and establish his reputation as a major figure in music. The finale is a work that needs no introduction, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, one of the most toweringly influential achievements in music history. Brisk but unhurried in Rattle and the LSO's rendering, it is thoroughly electrifying from the tormented opening motif (the most famous ever written) to the thunderously ebullient C-major finale.

A closer look: featured composers

Further listening: featured works

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