Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Xian Zhang conductor
Christian Li violin
William Grant Still Mother and Child
Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto: first movement
Mozart Symphony No.39
About this performance
Conductor Xian Zhang makes her debut as MSO Principal Guest Conductor with William Grant Still’s moving Mother and Child alongside the first movement of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and Mozart’s majestic Symphony No.39.
- The composer William Grant Still was incredibly prolific and diverse – writing works for choir, opera, ballet, chamber ensembles, orchestras and soloists. In 1943 he wrote Suite for Violin and Piano, based upon the works of “three contemporary Negro artists who I admire.” The second movement of the Suite, based on the lithograph “Mother and Child” by Sargent Johnson was orchestrated, and became the moving work we hear now.
- Prodigious violinist Christian Li returns to the MSO to perform the first movement of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto – a work written by the composer during a period of great difficulty. His marriage was a disaster, and his other compositional work was not really going anywhere, but his Violin Concerto brought him back to his creativity in the most stylish and virtuosic way.
- In the summer of 1788, Mozart composed a set of three final symphonies – the 39th, the 40th and the 41st. They were reportedly written extremely quickly, and with little break, perhaps pointing to the trio of works as a unified work.