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Janáček, Bartók and Elgar

London Symphony Orchestra/Sir Mark Elder

Photo of Elder conducting

Elgar's First Symphony completes a programme of three works that were all many years in the making.

Janáček’s incidental music for Gerhardt Hauptmann’s play Schluck und Jau was written in the last year of the composer’s life, remaining unfinished at his death. The comedy tells the tale of the eponymous drunken vagrants, their mistaken identity and treatment at the hands of Prince Jon.

Bartók’s Third Piano Concerto, too, was left unfinished at his death. As a gift for his wife to play, the music is serene and lyrical with an ambiance of serenity, evoking the American birdsong he had begun to study.

Elgar's First Symphony was composed over many years, but was considered by many to be the most perfect and lyrical of all of Elgar’s works. ‘An immediate and phenomenal success,’ reported the Musical Times after the 1908 premiere.

Barbican Hall