This BBC Radio 3 Invitation Concert, in the Ulster Hall May 4 2022, shines a spotlight on 3 contrasting pieces, all premiered in 1894: 1 Austrian, 1 Czech and 1 Danish.
The Ulster Orchestra is conducted by Michael Seal. The Austrian composer Emil von Reznicek was born to Czech parents and moved in exalted circles. His opera Donna Diana – an adaptation of a 17th century Spanish comedy – centres round Donna Diana, the proud and haughty daughter of the Count Sovereign of Barcelona.. She has several sincere suitors, including Don Cesar, who she rejects time and time again. Eventually he plays her at her own game and she realises her mistake, and succumbs. While the opera has fallen out of use, this effervescent overture remains popular.
Dvořák wrote his American Suite for piano while he was in New York, between 19 February and 1 March 1894. He then orchestrated it more than a year later. While its known as the American Suite, it's not quite clear whether Dvorak's themes come from the folk music of the New World as he experienced it, or from the music of Czech emigrants he liked to listen to during his stay in the United States.
Nielsen’s Symphony No.1 in G minor was premiered in Copenhagen in March 1894, with Johan Svendsen conducting and Nielsen himself playing second violin in the orchestra. One reviewer said” the symphony seems to presage a coming storm of genius ... as unsettled and brutal… and yet nevertheless so wonderfully innocent and unknowing, as if seeing a child playing with dynamite.” Come and judge for yourself.
Premiered in 1894
Reznicek: Donna Diana Overture - 5’
Dvořák: American Suite - 19’
Nielsen: Symphony No.1 in G minor, Op. 7 - 27’