Penderecki Horn Concerto
Vaughan Williams Job: A Masque for Dancing
Horn: Ben Goldscheider
Conductor: Robert Hodge
The symphonic poem Tintagel provides us with Arnold Bax’s musical impressions of the eponymous castle perched above the rugged Cornish landscape and fronting the huge Atlantic Ocean beyond. The evocative atmosphere of this famous work still exercises its magic today, with allusions to the history of Cornwall, Arthurian legend and even a hint of Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. This thoroughly English work is matched by the final item in this concert, Job: a Masque for Dancing by Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Between them, Krzysztof Penderecki’s fascinating Horn Concerto takes us into a different world, where musical riddles and intriguing effects carry us along spellbound. Every trick in the horn soloist’s box is exploited, including chords, believe it or not, and yet the result is expressive and lyrical. Ben Goldscheider, finalist in the last BBC Young Musician of the Year competition, joins the CCSO again after his impressive debut with the orchestra in Richard Strauss’s Horn Concerto No. 2.
The Vaughan Williams ballet has an almost aristocratic provenance: it is based on William Blake’s illustrations for the biblical ‘Book of Job’; the original choreographer was Ninette de Valois; the sets were designed by Gwendolen Raverat. These artistic giants of the 1930s, including Vaughan Williams himself of course, ensured that the work was a major landmark in the development of English ballet. Here we are being offered a golden opportunity to revisit the front line of artistic endeavour in the inter-war period.