Call it creative recycling, but composers have always engaged with music from earlier times. This concert offers affectionate tributes from one composer to another and from one era to another. In his Variations on a Rococo Theme – which is a cello concerto in all but name – Tchaikovsky summons the sound world of Mozart, a composer whose music he loved. Ravel’s jewel-like Le tombeau de Couperin honours the music of the French Baroque. Added to that, Ravel dedicated each movement to a dear friend who had fallen in the Great War, bringing a further degree of poignancy.
Brahms was in awe of his artistic heritage and revered the music of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and others. His Serenade No 1, which has the agreeable charm of a serenade and the grand sweep of a symphony, is a superbly crafted work in which Brahms declares, however modestly, that he too is worthy of a place among the greats.