Performance Thursday, January 15, 2015 | 8 PM

Orchestra of St. Luke's

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
The Financial Times likened pianist Stephen Hough to “a sorcerer bewitching his audience.” Hough casts his spell in Dvořák’s Piano Concerto, a work of bountiful lyricism and dramatic power. Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll, beloved for its subtle charm, is the tender birthday gift the composer wrote for his wife, while Haydn’s last symphony, commissioned by a London impresario, is the pinnacle of the composer’s symphonic art and his crowning achievement.


  • Orchestra of St. Luke's
    Harry Bicket, Conductor
  • Stephen Hough, Piano


  • WAGNER Siegfried Idyll
  • DVOŘÁK Piano Concerto
  • HAYDN Symphony No. 104, "London"


Haydn's Symphony No. 104 in D Major, "London" (Finale)
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra | Sir Colin Davis, Conductor
Universal International Music B.V.

At a Glance

RICHARD WAGNER  Siegfried Idyll

Wagner’s smallest, yet most popular, orchestral work was composed as a gift to his wife, Cosima, for her 33rd birthday (on Christmas Day) soon after she had given birth to their son Siegfried. Wagner assembled the small orchestra for rehearsals in secret. Early on Christmas Day 1870, he let the players quietly into his home in Lucerne, arranged them up and down the staircase, and directed the first performance as a gentle wake-up call. Afterward, everyone shared a birthday breakfast and listened to the piece twice more that day.

ANTONÍN DVOŘÁK  Piano Concerto in G Minor, Op. 33

The earliest of Dvořák’s three completed concertos (for piano, violin, and cello, respectively), the Piano Concerto in G Minor, Op. 33, is the least frequently performed. Unlike works such as the Slavonic Dances or the “New World” Symphony, the Piano Concerto has no apparent regional associations: Instead of the flashy, virtuoso showpiece that we might expect from a contemporary of Tchaikovsky, Dvořák took the concertos of Beethoven as his model, producing a work that favors musical argument over bravura display.

JOSEPH HAYDN  Symphony No. 104 in D Major, “London”

The last of Haydn’s more than 100 symphonies, the “London”Symphony was the capstone of Haydn’s life as a symphonist, having shaped the genre with extraordinary imaginations, variety, skill, and wit for nearly 40 years. He was by no means finished as a composer, but once he left London for the last time, he no longer had the astonishingly enthusiastic audiences who thronged to the many orchestral concerts in the city with the most highly developed concert life in Europe at the time. He devoted himself increasingly to chamber music (string quartets and piano trios), as well as two great oratorios and a series of masses.Audiences at the first performance of the “London” Symphony responded with extraordinary acclaim, astonished that Haydn—then a very elderly (for the day) 63 years old—seemed to be as freshly and youthfully imaginative in shaping new works as ever.

This performance is part of Orchestra of St. Luke's.