RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS: Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (1910; rev. 1919) 16 ′
JOHANNES BRAHMS: Double concerto for Violin & Cello in A minor, Op. 102 (1887) 35'
FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN: Symphony No. 102 in B flat, Hob 1/102 (1794) 23'
Ralph Vaughan Williams took a melody from the English Renaissance's leading composer to compose his Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis in a free arrangement of a modal fragment that allows for a daring use of harmony. The composer was inspired by the polychoral style or cori spezzati of Renaissance polyphonism, and the orchestra is divided into two instrumental bodies with a solo string quartet.
Johannes Brahms' Double concerto is one of the composer's most ambitious concertos. It stands out for its maturity and refined complexity, not just in formal terms but also in timbre and texture. It was written with the assistance of violinist Joseph Joachim, to whom the German composer had already dedicated his Violin Concerto. In addition to its virtuoso solo parts, the Double concerto also sums up the tension between Romantic freedom and Brahms' own exacting formal and intellectual demands upon himself, strongly rooted in classicism.
The programme closes with Symphony No. 102 by Franz Joseph Haydn, the tenth of what are known as the “London symphonies”, commissioned by Johann Peter Salomon, and a perfect model of a classical symphony.