Webern – Variations for Orchestra, op.30Berg – Lulu-Suite
Bartók – Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta
Martinů – Double Concerto for Two String Orchestras, Piano, and Timpani
It was good of Vladimir Jurowski and the LPO to dedicate this concert to the memory of Sir Colin Davis, although in reality it was not a very Davis-like programme. No matter: the focus was on ‘Music from Dark Times’, Berg’s Lulu-Suite having been written in 1934 and Webern’s Variations for Orchestra in 1940-1. There seems to have been some confusion concerning ordering: Jurowski at the opening claimed that the programme had been reordered, so that the pieces would be heard chronologically backwards. If so, Martinů’s Double Concerto should have swapped places with the Berg work, the earliest on the programme. As it was, it certainly made some sense for Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta, and the Martinů to be heard together, though Martinů’s work, despite what was undoubtedly the best performance of the night, could not help but pale into relative insignificance following Bartók’s masterpiece.