classical music

Chineke! Orchestra: Coleridge-Taylor & Brahms

Part of Classical Season 2019/20

An intriguing story surrounds Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Violin Concerto.

It was commissioned by the Norfolk Festival in Connecticut, USA, to be performed by the violinist Maud Powell in 1912.

Coleridge-Taylor completed the work that spring and dispatched the score and performing material on the Titanic.

The material never arrived, of course, and he had to hastily rewrite the piece from memory.

A rather eerie aspect of this tale is that the composer based his work on several African-American melodies – ‘spirituals’ – one of which was ‘Keep me from sinking down’.

Coleridge-Taylor was not present at the first performance but he was represented by a portrait placed on the stage.

Indeed, he was destined never to hear his Violin Concerto – it was performed in the Henry Wood Promenade concert season in October 1912; the composer had died a month earlier.

Written during a summer retreat in 1877, Brahms said in a rascally misleading letter to his publisher that his Second Symphony ‘is so melancholy that you will not be able to bear it. I have never written anything so sad, and the score must come out in mourning’.

Nothing could be further from the truth – this symphony is one of the composer’s sunniest and most cheerful works.

Kevin John Edusei makes a welcome return to conduct Chineke! and the violin soloist is Elena Urioste, a BBC Young Generation artist whose playing has been hailed as portraying in equal parts ‘passion, sensuality, brains and humour’ (Washington Post).


Chineke! Orchestra
Kevin John Edusei conductor
Elena Urioste violin


Weber: Overture, Oberon
Coleridge-Taylor: Violin Concerto in G minor, Op.80
Brahms: Symphony No.2

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Queen Elizabeth Hall


£15 - £40
Booking fee: £3.50 (Members £0.00)
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