Another historic concert this week (a lot of them lately), This one featuring the famed Stuttgart Radio Symphony, guest conducted by the legendary Sir Neville Marriner and featuring the equally legendary pianist Radu Lupu in a program of music by Arnold Schoenberg, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Anton Bruckner.
Starting the concert with the seldom performed Accompaniment to a Cinematographic Scene, composed between 1929 and 1930 by Arnold Schoenberg. Followed by Mozart’s Piano Concerto Number 23, with Rumanian Pianist Radu Lupu. The concert concludes with the Symphony Number 1 by Anton Bruckner.
Sir Neville Marriner, CH, CBE (15 April 1924 – 2 October 2016) was an English violinist who became “one of the world’s greatest conductors”. He founded the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, and his partnership with them is the most recorded of any orchestra and conductor.
In 1958, he founded the Academy of St Martin in the Fields; initially a twelve-member chamber ensemble, it soon expanded to a chamber orchestra, and attracted musicians of a high calibre including Dart, Iona Brown, Christopher Hogwood and Alan Loveday. Marriner recorded prolifically with the Academy. The first recordings in the early 1960s, with Marriner both conducting and playing lead violin, were successful, leading Pierre Monteux, then the LSO’s conductor, to encourage Marriner to shift his focus to conducting. Marriner had studied the subject with Monteux at his school in Hancock, Maine, in the United States, from around 1950.
Marriner was the founder and first music director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, from 1969 to 1978. From 1979 to 1986, he was music director of the Minnesota Orchestra. He was principal conductor of the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1986 to 1989.Except for 1974 to 1980 during which Iona Brown was the director, he remained the musical director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields until 2011, when he was succeeded by Joshua Bell, continuing to hold the title of Life President until his death. He also conducted many other orchestras, including the New York Chamber Orchestra, Gulbenkian Orchestra, Israel Chamber Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra and Vienna Philharmonic. He continued to conduct into his nineties, becoming the oldest conductor of a Proms concert in 2014, aged 90.
His obituary in The Telegraph praises the Academy of St Martin in the Fields’ interpretations of baroque and classical music as “fresh, technically brilliant”, and describes them as a “revelation”. Marriner preferred modern instruments and effects, and his work came under criticism by Hogwood, among others, for not striving for an authentic sound.He later expanded the Academy’s repertoire to include Romantic and early-modern music.
Marriner made over 600 recordings covering 2,000 different works – more than any conductor except Herbert von Karajan. He recorded for various labels, including Argo, L’Oiseau Lyre, Philips and EMI Classics. His recorded repertoire ranges from the baroque era to 20th-century British music, as well as opera. He supervised the Mozart selections for the soundtrack of the Oscar-winning 1984 film Amadeus; it became one of the most popular classical music recordings of all time, selling over 6.5 million copies.
Sit back and enjoy. It’s Wednesday after all.