Tamestit will play William Walton’s gripping Viola Concerto, which was inspired by Prokofjev’s Violin Concerto No. 1. Walton composed the Viola Concerto in 1929 for violist Linel Tertis, but he refused the work. Tertis thought the piece too modern. The piece premiered on October 3rd, 1929, featuring the young German violist, and later composer, Paul Hindemith – Walton himself was the conductor. The work was extremely well-received by the audience, and catapulted Walton in the forefront of British composers.
The concert follows the standard 3-movement concert structure and shows that Walton understood the principle musical qualities of viola: a deep and warm tone, and an inward nature. The most prominent feature of the work is the unique way he manages to reconcile modernist harmony and long beautiful melodies. The concert is very lyrical, but also has a slightly gloomy subtext, and demands great virtuosity by the solo violist.
In the first movement we hear a beautiful viola melody, which becomes the main theme of the concert. The second movement is a short scherzo. In the extended finale, the first movement theme comes back before the piece ends silently, and focuses on the greatest strength of the viola: its heartfelt, contemplative quality. Dmitry Sjostakovich wrote Symphony No. 1 in F-Minor as a final piece from the St. Petersburg Conservatory in 1925 – he was only 19 years old. The symphony was performed in Leningrad the following year. This vivacious symphony immediately brought him international attention.
The symphony has four movements, the last two are played without interruption. In the first movement, the composer uses the instruments individually, and the following scherzo is an early example of the composer's humor. The slower third movement is very melodious, while the final, which brings together many of the themes heard before, is more intricate, and has more tonal shifts, sudden pace changes and larger contrasts. The piece is like a first chapter of a book, as it already shows the composer's trademark: his musical gestures, nervous tension and sarcastic wit, but also shows the direction the composer will take going forward.