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 Jerwood 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:

De Falla arr Kreisler Danse espagnol from La Vida Breve
Tchaikovsky Mélodie Op 42 No 3
Boulanger Cortège
Paganini Cantabile Op 17 MS109
CC White Levee Dance Op 27
De Sarasate Jota Aragonesa Op 27
Wieniawski Polonaise in D major Op 4

Carmine Lauri violin
Francesca Lauri piano

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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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 Carmine Lauri

'Salon violin repertoire by composers who were great violinists themselves has always played an important part in my life when it comes to performing recitals. No one can deny music which pleases the ear and we are so fortunate that so many composers have written violin gems that usually end up performed at the end of recitals. 

For this short recital both Francesca (my daughter) and myself have come up with a choice of seven works, ranging from melodious music by the great Paganini and Tchaikovsky, to an arrangement for violin and piano by Kreisler of Falla’s Spanish Dance from La Vida Breve, a characterful Spanish dance by Pablo de Sarasate, a flavour of Poland where the great violinist composer Henryk Wieniawski was born, and also little gems by both Lili Boulanger and the American composer Clarence Cameron White, who drew upon thematic and harmonic content from African diasporic musical styles and traditions. 

The era of virtuoso violin music shall always live on and we shall never forget the legacies of great violinists from the past to whom we owe so much gratitude, especially the king of them all, Jascha Heifetz. 

I look forward to these recitals: after months of no live performances, they provide a live platform to perform to an audience once again, and they also mark my debut performance in public with my daughter Francesca!'

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.

De Falla arr Kreisler
Danse espagnol
1904–05, arr 1926

London Symphony Orchestra summer season

Born in Cadiz in 1876, Manuel de Falla became one of Spain’s most important composers of the early 20th century. His music is virtually indivisible from the rugged landscapes, overwhelming heat and mesmerising folkloric traditions of his native land. His opera La Vida Breve (Life is Short) dates from 1904–05 and was written in Andalucian dialect – though perhaps ironically, Debussy was an important influence on it and the first performance was actually given in Nice, in French. It is striking for its unusually high quotient of instrumental music and its celebrated Danse appears during a wedding celebration. Fritz Kreisler, the Viennese violinist par excellence, was well known for his virtuoso arrangements for violin and piano (and, as it turned out, his original compositions, which he often published under false names). In 1926 he transformed the opera’s Danse for violin and piano, gave it a fuller title and made it a showpiece that has enjoyed perennial popularity ever since. 

Programme note by Jessica Duchen

Manuel de Falla

Composer Manuel de Falla

Along with Isaac Albéniz and Enrique Granados, Manuel de Falla is considered to be one of the most influential Spanish composers of the 20th century. His music is characterised by its distinctive use of orchestration and colour, showing influence from the French impressionists, and its adoption of traditional Spanish, Andalusian and Flamenco folk melodies.

His musical education started at home where he was taught piano by his grandfather and mother. At the age of 20 he moved to Madrid to study piano and composition, graduating in 1899. After several years travelling and composing, Falla returned to Madrid in 1914. During this period of his life he composed many of his best known works including the ballets El Amor Brujo (Love, the Magician) and El Sombrero de Tres Picos (The Three-Cornered Hat).

Famous for…
The Three-Cornered Hat, ballet commissioned by Sergei Diaghilev and premiered in 1919

Did you know…?
Falla's image appeared on the Spanish 1970 100-pesetas banknote.

Mélodie Op 42 No 3

London Symphony Orchestra summer season

The third movement of a suite entitled Souvenir d’un lieu cher (Souvenir of a precious place), Tchaikovsky’s Mélodie was composed in 1878, at something of a crossroads in the composer’s life. The ‘precious place’ appears to be Brailivo, the Ukrainian estate of his benefactress, Nadezhda von Meck, whom he studiously avoided ever meeting, but who gave him free rein to retreat there for a working holiday. The previous year, Tchaikovsky had made his ill-fated attempt at marriage to Antonina Miliukova, which was followed by a nervous breakdown and inevitable separation. He was also experiencing a continuing passionate attachment to the young violinist Iosif Kotek, one of his former students. For Kotek, he wrote his Violin Concerto in Clarens, Switzerland, directly before going to Brailivo, and his choice of instrument for his new suite was probably no coincidence. Each of its three pieces was eventually published separately, a sure sign of their tremendous appeal.

Programme note by Jessica Duchen

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Born in Kamsko-Votkinsk in the Vyatka province of Russia on 7 May 1840, Tchaikovsky’s father was a mining engi­n­eer, his mother of French extraction. He overcame his grief at his mother’s death in 1854 by composing and performing, and music remained a diversion from his job until he enrolled as a full-time student at the St Petersburg Conservatory in 1863. Between 1869 and the year of his death Tchai­kovsky composed over 100 songs.

Tchaikovsky claimed that his Sixth Symphony represented his best work. The mood of crushing despair heard in all but the work’s third move­ment reflected the composer’s troubled state of mind. He committed suicide nine days after its premiere on 6 November 1893.

We recommend…
Symphony No 4 in F minor, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda

Listen on Apple Music


London Symphony Orchestra summer season

In 1913 Lili Boulanger became the first woman ever to win the Prix de Rome, Paris’ most coveted award for young composers. The Prix de Rome sent its winners to the Villa Medici to spend intensive time composing. Cortège was written there in 1914 and is dedicated to Boulanger’s violinist friend Yvonne Astruc. Far from being a ‘cortège’ in the sense of a funeral procession, this music is lyrical and light-footed, striking for its vivid contrasts and its pentatonic scales à la Debussy. Boulanger must have valued it, for she made another version, for piano solo, which appears as the third of her Trois Morceaux.

Programme note by Jessica Duchen

Lili Boulanger

Composer Lili Boulanger

The daughter of a Paris Conservatoire professor and a Russian princess, Lili Boulanger had been a child prodigy composer: early encouragement came from a family friend, the composer Gabriel Fauré, who discovered that Lili had perfect pitch when she was two. Tragically she died of Crohn’s Disease at just 24. Her elder sister, Nadia Boulanger, became one of the most important professors of composition and piano of her day.

Profile by Jessica Duchen

Did you know...?
When war disrupted musical life in Paris, Lili was responsible for organising a campaign of letters and parcels for Conservatoire students on military service. 

Listen to…
Her Prix de Rome award-winning Faust et Hélène 

Cantabile Op 17 MS109
published 1922

London Symphony Orchestra summer season

Although Paganini’s 24 Caprices and two violin concertos are ubiquitously popular, much of his music remains surprisingly little known. The archive of his works in Genoa held many manuscripts that were not released for publication until well into the 20th century. It seems he allowed little to be printed in his lifetime for fear of revealing his personal tricks of the trade. Nevertheless, it is not all fireworks. The Cantabile Op 17 MS109, which was published only in 1922, is intimate and richly melodic, with lavish embellishments in the style of a bel canto operatic aria.

Programme note by Jessica Duchen

Niccolò Paganini

Niccolò Paganini (1819), by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

Born in Genoa in 1782, Paganini was more than a violinist. His virtuoso playing and carefully cultivated image sparked a frenzied response among early 19th-century audiences: reputedly, he dressed in black and did not seem to object to the association between his instrument and the Devil. His performances inspired both Franz Liszt and Robert Schumann to devote themselves to music.

Profile by Jessica Duchen

Musical acquaintances...
Paganini counted among his close friends well known composers such as Gioachino Rossini and Hector Berlioz.

Did you know…?
Paganini's association with the Devil derived from his extraordinary and unparallelled violin technique – but rumours also suggest that he may have suffered from disorders such as Marfan Syndrome or Ehlers-Danlos, which might have attributed to extra long fingers and hyper-mobility of the joints.

Listen to…
His 24 Caprices performed by Roman Simovic for LSO Live

Listen on Apple Music

CC White
Levee Dance

London Symphony Orchestra summer season

Clarence Cameron White often drew upon the influence of African-American music, notably spirituals. Levee Dance, written in 1927, is full of lively syncopations and ‘blue’ notes, with a central section based on the spiritual Go Down, Moses. It became a favourite encore for the violinist Jascha Heifetz.

Levee Dance is edited by Dunja Lavrova, and we are grateful to her for providing the music.

Programme note by Jessica Duchen

Clarence Cameron White

Composer Clarence Cameron White

The African-American composer and violinist Clarence Cameron White was born in Clarksville, Tenessee, in 1880. His father died when he was two; after his mother remarried, the family moved to Washington DC. Here, aged 12, he was taken to hear the violinist and composer Will Marion Cook and fell asleep during the recital. As a result, Cook offered him violin lessons. 'Every lesson was one of pure joy and it was during this period that I definitely made up my mind to be a violinist,' White recalled. He undertook further studies with, among others, Joseph Douglass (grandson of the abolitionist Frederick Douglass), and in London in 1906 with Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. He later enjoyed a busy career as performer, professor and composer in the US, his output including a quantity of chamber music, a ballet and an opera, Ouanga, on Haitian themes.

Profile by Jessica Duchen

Did you know…?
White was a founding member and served as President (1922–24) of the National Association of Negro Musicians, dedicated to the preservation, encouragement, and advocacy of all genres of the music of Black Americans.

De Sarasate
Jota Aragonesa Op 27

London Symphony Orchestra summer season

Though Sarasate remained more celebrated for his playing than his pieces, his compositions, chiefly inspired by the characteristic folk music of Spain, have much enriched his instrument’s concert repertoire. The sundrenched Jota Aragonesa, written in 1883, is one of his best-loved and most challenging pieces: a showpiece blazing with flamenco-style rhythms and dazzling technical effects.

Programme note by Jessica Duchen

Pablo de Sarasate

Composer Pablo de Sarasate

Born in the Basque town of Pamplona in 1844, Sarasate was in many ways the heir to Paganini, celebrated far and wide as a violin virtuoso and composer of works perfectly calibrated to display his exceptional abilities. He was reputedly best known for the purity of his tone and the technical fluidity of his unsentimental style. George Bernard Shaw wrote of his playing that he 'left criticism gasping miles behind him'. He started his career as a child prodigy; later he inspired concertos by Saint-Saëns, Lalo and Bruch, and the Queen of Spain presented him with a Stradivarius violin.

Profile by Jessica Duchen

Did you know…?
A number of works have been dedicated to Sarasate, including Édouard Lalo's Symphonie Espagnole, Camille Saint-Saëns' Violin Concerto No 3 and Max Bruch's Scottish Fantasy.

Listen to…
Carmine perform Sarasate's Zapateado in our recent Coffee Session

Polonaise in D major Op 4

London Symphony Orchestra summer season

Every composer in this programme was influenced by the national musical styles of his or her native country. Henryk Wieniawski, born in Lublin, Poland, in 1835, was no exception. A prodigy with phenomenal abilities, he was accepted into the Paris Conservatoire aged only nine; at 13 he sketched the work that later became the Polonaise de Concert Op 4. Its first publication followed in 1853.

Reviewing Wieniawski’s performance of the piece, among other things, in Vienna that year, the Neue Wiener Musikzeitung noted: 'He has a grand tone, guides the bow with a light and sure touch. He is excellent in the technical manoeuvring on the fingerboard. His compositions are equally full of fire and inventiveness … These works clearly show the talent of this young artist, in terms of ingeniousness, polish and individuality.'

Nevertheless, Wieniawski did not write the Polonaise solely to perform himself. Instead, it was inspired by the violinist Karol Lipinski: concertmaster of the opera in Dresden, this much-respected musician was an important mentor to his youthful compatriot, who later played in his string quartet. The Polonaise is dedicated to him, making it the most magnificent of tributes that a grateful pupil could offer.

Programme note by Jessica Duchen

Henryk Wieniawski

Composer Henryk Wieniawski

As a child in Lublin, Wieniawski was influenced by the many concerts and literary meetings that his home and family hosted. After taking lessons initially from his mother, he went to study at the Paris Conservatory in 1843, later returning to study composition. A major concert tour around Russia and Europe, starting in 1850, brought Wieniawski tremendous success. He would go on to play regularly across Europe, spending three or four months of the year doing so, and later embarked on a tour of the US.

In 1860, Wieniawksi was appointed first violinist of the Tsar's court, and soloist and teacher at the Russian Music Society, which in 1862 became the Conservatory. His teaching laid the foundations for the St Petersburg violin school and later took him to Brussels, were he taught Eugène Ysaÿe.

Did you know…?
The Henryk Wieniawksi International Violin Competition has been held in Poland since 1935.

Artist Biographies

Players on stage:

London Symphony Orchestra summer season

Carmine Lauri

Carmine Lauri, violin, London Symphony Orchestra

Keep reading to the end for Carmine's listening suggestions based on this programme…

Maltese violinist Carmine Lauri started playing the violin at the age of four and at 17 was awarded the ABRSM scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music with Maurice Hasson. Lauri has performed worldwide as a soloist and leads various orchestras, including the LSO. He is also the Concertmaster of the Oxford Philharmonic and the Guest Leader of the Malta Philharmonic. He features in numerous movie scores, including Star Wars and Harry Potter and is the featured violin soloist in various films.

Carmine has performed concertos with orchestras including the LSO, London Philharmonic, both the Czech Philharmonic and Czech State Philharmonic Brno, Oxford Philharmonic and Armenian State Symphony Orchestra conducted by numerous renowned conductors. He was bestowed an ARAM and FRAM (Royal Academy of Music). He is a member of the National Order of Merit and is the recipient of the Gold Medal for Arts 2015. Lauri performs on a violin made by Nicholas Lupot, ca 1768.

Francesca Lauri

Francesca Lauri, piano

Francesca, born in 2000, started studying piano at the age of five with Neil Rollings and is currently studying at Trinity Laban on the undergraduate BMus piano course. She was the recipient of the Lee Family and Gladys Britton Scholarships in her first year and is currently a Trinity Scholarship Scholar, studying with Sergio De Simone.

Previously Francesca attended the Purcell School of Music where she studied piano with Andrew Ball and harpsichord with David Gordon. During this time she regularly performed at the Fazioli Hall, Italy, and the Royal Scottish Conservatoire, Glasgow, as part of the biannual keyboard festivals. She was awarded the School’s Leaver’s prize: the Felsenstein Scholarship.

In 2016 Francesca performed at the Wigmore Hall Chamber Music Coffee Morning Series, and later in the year as a soloist. She returned in 2018 performing in duo. She has since performed solos in Godalming, Waltham Abbey, The Old Royal Naval Chapel, Oxford, and the A B Michelangeli Hall (Bolzano, Italy).

Today's performance features Yamaha's flagship CFX Concert Grand Piano.

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

Thank You for Joining Us

The support of our audience has truly never been more important. You can help us to continue to adapt our music-making and activities to meet the challenges of these times.

Text SUMSHORTS 5, SUMSHORTS 10 or SUMSHORTS 20 to 70085 to donate £5, £10 or £20.

Texts cost £5, £10 or £20 plus one standard rate message and you’ll be opting in to hear more about our work and fundraising via telephone and SMS. If you’d like to give but do not wish to receive marketing communications, text SUMSHORTSNOINFO 5, 10 or 20 to 70085.

Thank you.

If you liked this, Carmine suggests you listen to…

Watch Jascha Heifetz perform Wieniawski's Scherzo Tarantelle.

Listen to Tchaikovsky's Waltz Scherzo performed by David Oistrakh.

Watch Andrei Korsakov perform Sarasate's Zapateado.

Hear two more composers' works: Moszkowski's Guitarre and Albeniz's Malagueña.

Listen to Jascha Heifetz performing his own arrangement of Hallfter's Danza de la Gitana.

Keep exploring

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

Next week: Friday 7 August

Scarlatti arr R Watkins Sonata K1 in D minor
Wieniawksi arr R Watkins Etude Caprice in G minor Op 18 No 1
Trad arr Coleridge-Taylor Deep River
Paganini arr S Parkin Caprice No 24
Pēteris Vasks Castillo Interior
Monti arr S Parkin Czardas

Rhys Watkins violin
Rowena Calvert cello