Elgar summons the “Spirit of Delight” in his Second Symphony and Lukáš Vondráček returns to play Prokofiev.
Finishing his Second Symphony in 1911, Edward Elgar quoted from Shelley: “Rarely, rarely comest thou / Spirit of Delight!” The music spills over with life experience – moving between extremes of ecstasy and despair. But, above all, Elgar wanted the symphony to reach towards “high and pure joy”. Whatever sorrows it passes through on the way, the music ends with the calm nobility and elevated spirit that have become much-loved signatures of Elgar’s style. And to begin, English conductor John Wilson has chosen Elgar’s take on music by Bach, the composer who “heals and pacifies all men and all things”. Between the passion and solace of Elgar’s music is Sergei Prokofiev’s calling card as a concert pianist. It’s his most popular concerto and no surprise: the music is memorable, brilliant and invigorating with an irrepressible Romantic spirit.