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The Glasshouse



Beethoven's Fourth Symphony

Jaume Santonja

Beethoven's Fourth Symphony

Part of Classical 2023/24


Unpredictable. Brisk. Blow the cobwebs away.

Whos on stage?

Our very own Royal Northern Sinfonia, with special guest conductor Jaume Santonja and cellist Bruno Philippe.

What they’re playing

Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony. Loads of emotions packed into 30 spine-tingling minutes. Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations – a concerto by any other name, for cello and orchestra. Plus Con Brio  AKA ‘with energy’ by Jörg Wideman starts your night.

Need to know

Price: £17 – £43

Running time: 1 hour 30 minutes, including a 20 minute interval.

Discounts: Save if you’re local, unemployed, a first-timer.

Age: Under 14s must be accompanied by an adult.

Concert programmes: Learn more about what you’ll hear and who’s playing it in our free downloadable concert programme.

What you'll hear

Jörg Widmann Con Brio (10’)
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Variations on a Rococo Theme (18’)
Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No. 4 (34’) 

Who's playing

Jaume Santonja conductor
Bruno Philippe
Royal Northern Sinfonia

What’s happening in the music?

Evolution and Reinvention. That’s what this concert is about. Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony takes you on a journey, from brooding, dark, moody beginnings to a blaze of light. Tchaikovsky takes a tune in his Rococo Variations and plays with it – twisting it, turning it around, upside down, seeing how far he can stretch it. Modern composer Jörg Widmann has fun with his piece ‘Con Brio’. He takes Beethoven’s style but puts it through a musical mincer and we end up with something we kind of recognise – but also kinda don’t. Intriguing.

Cello it up

Writing music for someone else isn’t always easy. Tchaikovsky wrote his piece for a cello superstar of the day Wilhelm Fitzenhagen but he was a ‘difficult’ client. He dropped one section, changed the order of others and wrote a fair bit of the cello part himself. Tchaikovsky’s publisher wrote to the composer saying “”Horrible Fitzenhagen insists on changing your cello piece. He wants to ‘cello’ it up and claims you gave him permission. Good God!”

Beethoven and Tchaikovsky are tried and tested. You might not know what Jorg Wideman’s music sounds like though. Take a listen to Con Brio: 

Bring out the Beethoven

Want more Ludwig? We’ve got loads of Beethoven this year.

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