London Symphony Orchestra summer shorts
LSO St Luke's Jerwood Hall

© Matthew Weinreb

LSO St Luke's Jerwood Hall

© Matthew Weinreb

LSO St Luke's Jerwood Hall

© Matthew Weinreb

© Matthew Weinreb

Thank you for joining us for LSO Summer Shorts.

We are delighted to see live music return to LSO St Luke's as LSO musicians and friends come together throughout July and August for a series of chamber-scale concerts. These concerts form part of a pilot project for indoor performances, and we look forward to expanding this in the coming weeks.

We are very grateful for the bequest of the late Ms Denise Antenen and the generous support of our Technical Partner, Yamaha Professional Audio, which have made this series possible.

Whether in the hall or online, it is a pleasure to invite you to join us, and I hope you enjoy these performances.

Kathryn McDowell CBE DL; Managing Director

Kathryn McDowell CBE DL; Managing Director

Today's programme:

Daniel Kidane Dappled Light (world premiere)
de Bériot Duo concertante Op 57 No 1
Piazzolla arr Mark O'Connor Libertango

Maxine Kwok violin
Julián Gil Rodríguez violin

Visit our website for information on how we are ensuring activity at our venue LSO St Luke’s is COVID-19 secure.

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Please keep scrolling to find out more about today's concert...

The support of our audience has truly never been more important for the Orchestra and its world-class artistic programme. By supporting us now and in the months to come, you will help us to continue to adapt our music-making and activities to meet the challenges of these times, including sharing the gift of music with our local communities through our LSO Discovery programme.

Today's Programme in 60 Seconds
with Maxine Kwok

'You don’t often hear music written solely for two violins, as many composers preferred to write for instrumentations with a wider range. Composers who have penned violin duos generally became a little more inventive than just tune and accompaniment, as you’ll hear today.

We’re very fortunate to begin with the world premiere of a piece by Daniel Kidane, Dappled Light, which uses such beautiful colours for the instruments. Belgian composer de Bériot was himself a violinist: we’ll perform his Duo concertante, made up of three delightfully contrasting movements. We’ll finish with Piazzolla’s Libertango, arranged by American violinist and composer Mark O’Connor. I hope it will leave people wanting to tango around their living rooms. Listen out for pizzicato ‘a la guitarre’, which O’Connor uses to great effect!

I personally love the Jerwood Hall in LSO St Luke’s for chamber performances: it feels like a very intimate and friendly place. To actually perform a concert there with a friend and colleague after four months not making music with anyone is very special indeed. It may feel a little unfamiliar for a minute or two, but I’m sure I’ll get back into the swing of things in no time at all!'

Talk to Us

Let us know what you think throughout the concert: join the YouTube live chat or get in touch on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #lsosummershorts.

Take part in the live Q&A at the end of the concert by posting your questions in the live chat on YouTube or tweeting us at @londonsymphony with the hashtag #lsosummershorts.

Daniel Kidane
Dappled Light

world premiere

London Symphony Orchestra summer season
'I'm a real admirer of Daniel's work. When we spoke about the possibility of a violin duo, I couldn't wait to see the score.'
Maxine Kwok

Lockdown has inflicted restrictions and difficulties, but, thankfully, it has become clear that creativity has a rebellious streak and refuses to be squashed. Dappled Light is composer Daniel Kidane’s response to the crisis, composed during lockdown, and arranged for two violins at the LSO’s behest.

For such a short work, Dappled Light embraces an expansive string sonority, from extremely quiet to very loud on single notes, and requiring the players to double stop (play two notes at the same time) almost throughout. The title implies splashes of light, of sun through leaves, but the sforzandos (to play a note with sudden, strong emphasis) and command of lascia vibrare – to let the sound die naturally – conjures up impressionistic flickers of light on ripples of water from a dropped pebble.

Daniel is no stranger to writing for small string groups; another notable work is Foreign Tongues for string quartet, commissioned by the LSO.

Programme note by Sarah Breeden

Daniel Kidane

Daniel Kidane

© Kaupo Kikkas

© Kaupo Kikkas

Daniel Kidane‘s music has been performed extensively across the UK and abroad, as well as being broadcast on BBC Radio 3, and described by the Financial Times as ‘quietly impressive’ and by The Times as ‘tautly constructed’ and ‘vibrantly imagined’.

Daniel began his musical education at the age of eight when he started playing the violin. He first received composition lessons at the Royal College of Music Junior Department and then went on to study privately in St Petersburg, receiving lessons in composition from Sergey Slonimsky. He completed his undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the RNCM under the tutelage of Gary Carpenter and David Horne. Currently, he is undertaking a doctoral degree at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, supervised by Julian Anderson.

Recent projects
Woke which opened the Last Night of the Proms in 2019, performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Dream Song, written for Roderick Williams and the Chineke! Orchestra, performed at the reopening of the Queen Elizabeth Hall in 2018.

Zulu premiered by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

Did you know…?
Daniel has been a member of all three of our programmes for emerging composers, most recently on the LSO Jerwood Composer+ Scheme.
Click to watch an extract from his final concert.

de Bériot
Duo concertante Op 57 No 1

Adagio moderato
Rondo: Allegro con spirito

London Symphony Orchestra summer season

If you are a violinist you have most likely played one of de Bériot’s pieces in one of your exams, as his studies are his lasting legacy. This belies his vast output that included no less than ten violin concertos, 13 sets of variations and a huge number of works for solo and duo violin.

A distinguished violinist, during his lifetime de Bériot would have witnessed the instrument evolve into its modern form. The bow had already been standardised in 1780, the chin rest was introduced around 1820 making it easier to hold, and the neck and fingerboard were lengthened allowing for brighter, higher notes and a bigger more brilliant sound. By the time of writing the Duo concertante, the violin was well and truly established as 'the king of instruments', attracting virtuosic performances that pushed the instrument to new heights, most famously from Paganini (1782–1840), who was an undoubted influence on de Bériot.

Duo concertante may seem an easy listen, but it imposes technical difficulties on the performers. It offers a commanding opening, with the first violin marked ‘risoluto’ and the second ‘fieramente’ meaning ‘play with nobility’. The middle movement moves into the relevant major of E-flat while the short dance-like Rondo concludes as emphatically as the opening bars.

Programme note by Sarah Breeden

Charles Auguste de Bériot

Known for creating the Franco-Belgian school of violin playing, de Bériot's work may be known to violin students but not necessarily to their audiences. Amongst his own influences as a young musician were Giovanni Battista Viotti, his teacher Pierre Baillot and the era’s violin star Paganini. He served as a chamber musician for two monarchs and was married to the famed opera singer Maria Malbran in 1836, but became a widow in the same year due to a tragic horse riding accident. He did not play for some years after, but later remarried in 1840.

In his seventies, de Bériot became the chief violin instructor in his home country at the Brussels Conservatory. Sadly however, diminishing eyesight and paralysis of the left arm ended his career in 1866 before his death four years later, leaving behind ten violin concertos and countless other works and studies for violin.

Famous for
Scène de Ballet Op 100, recorded by Itzhak Perlman in 1999 on his recording Concertos From My Childhood.

Musical acquaintances
His teaching lineage continued into the 20th and 21st century with the likes of Eugène Ysaÿe, whose last student was the teacher of Hilary Hahn.

Did you know…?
His London debut as soloist took place at the Philharmonic Society on 1 May 1826.

Further listening
Japanese violinist Ayana Tsuji's recent revival of his music in Bériot: Works for Violin & Orchestra.

Piazzolla arr Mark O'Connor

London Symphony Orchestra summer season

Who can resist the rhythm and sultry passion of a tango, whether it be performed as a dance or the music itself? Certainly not Astor Piazzolla, the ultimate exponent of the genre, known for developing a new style of the genre – ‘nuevo tango’ – by incorporating elements of jazz and classical music.   

Written specifically for the bandoneon, a type of concertina favoured in Argentina of which Piazzolla was a virtuoso, a quick look on Spotify underlines Libertango’s popularity, with arrangements for several instruments from trumpet to piano trio, cello, guitar, and, of course, two violins. Mark O’Connor’s clever arrangement begins with one violin strummed 'a la guitarre' – the guitar another instrument closely associated with the tango’s homeland of Argentina. 

Libertango – an amalgam of ‘Libertad’ meaning freedom and ‘Tango’ – is an intense work with a heady circular melody that entwines itself around the pulsating syncopated rhythm imitating the spin and twirl of the dancers.

Programme note by Sarah Breeden

Astor Piazzolla

Astor Piazzolla playing the bandoneon

Responsible for whisking tango music away from the Argentinian dance hall and giving it a place in concert halls around the world, Astor Piazzolla was widely recognised as the world’s foremost tango composer.

Born to Italian parents in Argentina, he spent much of his childhood with family in New York City. A bandoneon (a kind of accordion) prodigy as a child, Piazzolla worked his way up through local clubs, briefly moving into modernist classical composition (inspired by Stravinsky, Bartók and Ravel), before turning his attention back to tango. A truly innovative composer and musician, his fusion of tango, jazz and classical music was highly controversial among his Argentinian contemporaries (musically and politically), as he reworked established sounds to form a revolutionary new style – dubbed Nuevo Tango.

Hear him play
Milonga Del Angel (1965)
Oblivion (1982)
Suite Punta del Este (1982)

Musical acquaintances
Composer Nadia Boulanger taught Piazzolla and urged him to continue his experiments with tango.

Piazzolla imparted his own musical wisdom on Marcelo Nisinman, an important figure in contemporary tango music and his protégé.

Did you know…?
He has an airport named after him: Astor Piazzolla International Airport in Mar del Plata, Argentina.

London Symphony Orchestra
Players on stage

Maxine Kwok

Maxine Kwok, London Symphony Orchestra

On the LSO blog: Maxine Kwok on Instagram Live interviews, and camping in LSO St Luke's...

Maxine began her professional orchestral career touring America with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields whilst an undergraduate at the Royal Academy of Music. She successfully auditioned for the LSO String Experience Scheme and became a permanent member of the first violins after graduating with an ARAM and first class honours degree.

Maxine can be seen on YouTube in duo concerts and masterclasses filmed at LSO St Luke’s, and also on the LSO Play app. Maxine is keen on sharing her musical experiences with the younger generation and has enjoyed coaching the National Children’s Orchestra of GB and the Mediterranean Youth Orchestra in Aix-en-Provence. She has written articles for and been interviewed by Classic FM, The Violin Channel, The Strad, Musical Orbit and Bachtrack among others. In 2010 Maxine was invited to contribute a chapter to Tom Hoover's book Soundtrack Nation, which explores all aspects of the film recording industry.

Julián Gil Rodríguez

Julián Gil Rodríguez, London Symphony Orchestra

A violinist from Bogotá, Colombia, Julián has held positions in the Orquesta Sinfónica de Colombia, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, Spain. In 2013 he became a proud member of the LSO, with whom he has had the pleasure of travelling the world making music, and in 2019 he became Principal Second Violin. Julián enjoys the popular music scene, which has led him to perform in London venues including Ronnie Scott’s and the Jazz Café. In his free time he can be found on his bike trying to keep up with his friends.

LSO St Luke's exterior

© Neil Wilkinson

LSO St Luke's exterior

© Neil Wilkinson

LSO St Luke's exterior

© Neil Wilkinson

© Neil Wilkinson

© Neil Wilkinson

© Neil Wilkinson

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Thank you.

Keep Listening

If you enjoyed this concert, listen to Julián's playlist of suggested works based on today's programme.

Keep Exploring

Keep reading to find out what's coming up next week...

Next Week: Friday 24 July

Pla Trio Sonata in F major
Sancho Minuets
Zelenka Trio Sonata No 1 in F major

Juliana Koch oboe
Olivier Stankiewicz oboe
Daniel Jemison bassoon
Peter Whelan harpsichord