classical music programme notes by Mike Wheeler

Programme Note Library

List of Programme Notes by Mike Wheeler

Orchestral notesChoral/vocal/stage
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Contact Mike WheelerOpera synopses


Adams, John

Chamber symphony

Shaker loops

Short ride in a fast machine

Tromba lontana

The Chairman Dances

Adès, Thomas

Violin Concerto

Albinoni, Tomaso

Oboe Concerto, D minor Op 9 no 2

Albinoni, Tomaso (attrib.)

Adagio in G minor

Albrechtsberger, Johann Georg

Trombone Concerto in B flat

Anderson, Leroy

Blue tango

The girl in satin

Plink, plank, plunk

The typewriter

Arensky, Anton

Variations on a theme of Tchaikovsky

Arne, Thomas

Overture: Eliza

Arnold, Sir Malcolm

Clarinet Concertino (orch. Roger Steptoe)

Two violins

Little Suite no 1

Sinfonietta no 1

Bach, CPE

Flute Concerto in A, H 438/Wq 168

Bach, JS

Brandenburg Concertos 1-6

violin & oboe, D minor, BWV 1060
D minor, BWV 1052
E, BWV 1053
D, BWV 1054
A, BWV 1055
F minor, BWV 1056
two harpsichords, C, BWV 1061
violin, E, BWV 1041; A minor, BWV 1042
two violins, D minor, BWV 1043

Easter Oratorio - Sinfonia

Orchestral Suites 1-4

Barber, Samuel


Cello Concerto

Violin Concerto

Bartók, Belá

Concerto for orchestra

Dance Suite


Hungarian sketches

Piano Concertos 1-3

Rhapsodies, violin and orchestra

Romanian dances

The Miraculous Mandarin

Violin Concertos Nos 1 & 2

Bax, Sir Arnold

The garden of Fand


Beethoven, Ludwig van

The creatures of Prometheus

Coriolan Overture

Egmont Overture

Fidelio Overture

Piano Concertos: 1-5

Romance, violin & orchestra, Op 50

Symphonies 1-9 (also piano transcriptions by Liszt)

Triple Concerto

Violin Concerto

Bellini, Vincenzo

Oboe Concerto

Berg, Alban

Violin Concerto

Berkeley, Sir Lennox

Serenade for Strings

Berlioz, Hector

Harold en Italie

Overtures: Le corsaire

Les Francs-Juges

Roman carnival


Symphonie Fantastique

Bernstein, Leonard

Candide Overture

On the waterfront, symphonic suite

Prelude, Fugue and Riffs

Symphony 2, 'The Age of Anxiety'

Symphonic dances from West Side Story

Binge, Ronald

Sailing by

Birtwistle, Sir Harrison

Carmen arcadiae mechanicae perpetuum

Bizet, Georges

Carmen: Suite no 1

L'Arlèsienne: suites 1 & 2

Symphony in C

Bliss, Sir Arthur

Checkmate - Prologue and Five Dances

Music for strings

Bloch, Ernest


Suite hébraique

Boccherini, Luigi

Cello Concerto, B flat

Symphony in D minor, Op 12 No 4, 'La Casa del Diavolo', G506

Symphony in A, Op 21 no 6

Bologne, Joseph, Chevalier de Saint-Georges

2 Symphonies, Op 11 (No 1 doubtful; No 2 = Overture to L'Amant Anonyme)

Borodin, Alexander

Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor

Symphony No 2

Bottesini, Giovanni

Gran duo concertante, violin and double bass

Boyce, William


Brahms, Johannes

Academic Festival Overture

Double Concerto

Hungarian dances

Piano Concertos 1 & 2

Serenades 1 & 2

Symphonies 1-4

Tragic Overture

Variations on the St Antoni chorale

Violin Concerto

Bratton, John

The teddy bears' picnic

Bridge, Frank

Londonderry air

Suite for string orchestra

Two entr'actes

Britten, Benjamin

Double Concerto


Matinées musicales

Peter Grimes: Sea Interludes

Soirées musicales

The young person's guide to the orchestra

Variations on a theme of Frank Bridge

Bruch, Max

Kol nidrei

Scottish fantasy

Violin Concerto No 1

Bruckner, Anton

Symphony No 2

Bucalossi, Ernest

The grasshopper's dance

Butterworth, George

A Shropshire lad (rhapsody)

Two English idylls

Chabrier, Emmanuel


Suite Pastorale

Chausson, Ernest


Chavez, Carlos

Sinfonia india

Chopin, Fryderyck

Andante spianato and grande polonaise

Piano Concertos 1 & 2

Cimarosa, Domenico

Concerto for two flutes

Clyne, Anna


Coates, Eric

Calling all workers

Dancing nights

The three Elizabeths

Connesson, Guillaume

E chiaro nella valle il fiume appare


Copland, Aaron

Appalachian Spring

Billy the Kid, suite

Clarinet Concerto

Fanfare for the common man

Quiet city


Short symphony

Corelli, Arcangelo

Concerti grossi, Op 6

Coward, Sir Noel

The grand tour (arr. Hershey Kay)

Dallapiccola, Luigi

Piccola musica notturna

Davies, Sir Peter Maxwell

An Orkney wedding, with sunrise

Debussy, Claude

Danse sacrée et danse profane


La Mer

Prélude à l'Après-midi d'un faune

Rhapsodie (saxophone)

Trois nocturnes

Delius, Frederick

A song before sunrise

On hearing the first cuckoo in spring

Summer night on the river

Two aquarelles (orch Fenby)

The walk to the Paradise Garden

Docker, Robert

The spirit of Cambria

Donizetti, Gaetano

Allegro in C, strings

Concerto, D minor, violin and cello

Doyle, Patrick

Henry V

Dukas, Paul

Fanfare pour précéder La Péri

The sorcerer's apprentice

Dvorák, Antonín

Carnival overture

Czech Suite

Cello Concerto


Romance, Op 11

Scherzo capriccioso

Serenade, strings, Op 22

Serenade, wind, Op 44

Silent woods

Slavonic dances, Opp 46 & 72

Symphonic variations

Symphonies nos 5-9

The Golden Spinning Wheel

The Noonday Witch

Elgar, Sir Edward

Cello Concerto

Chanson de Matin

Chanson de Nuit


Dream children


Enigma variations


In the south

Introduction and allegro

Pomp and circumstance Marches

Romance, bassoon & orchestra

Salut d'amour

Serenade, strings

Soliloquy, oboe & orchestra


Symphony 1

Symphony 3 (the sketches elaborated by Anthony Payne)

Violin Concerto

Ellington, Duke

The river

Enescu, George

Romanian Rhapsody 1

Erkel, Ferenc

Hunyadi Laszlo overture

Falla, Manuel de

El amor brujo

La vida breve - Spanish dance

Nights in the gardens of Spain

The three-cornered hat

Fauré, Gabriel

Masques et bergamasques

Pelléas et Mélisande



Finzi, Gerald

Clarinet Concerto


The Fall of the Leaf

Françaix, Jean

Les malheurs de Sophie

Symphony in G

Franck, César

Symphonic variations

Symphony in D minor

Geminiani, Francesco

12 Concerti Grossi after Corelli's Op 5

Gershwin, George

An American in Paris


Piano Concerto


Rhapsody in blue

Strike up the band overture

Ginastera, Alberto


Giuliani, Mauro

Guitar Concerto no 1

Glass, Philip

Concerto grosso

Symphony 3

Glazunov, Alexander

Saxophone Concerto

Symphony 9

Violin Concerto

Glinka, Mikhail

Ruslan and Lyudmila overture

Gluck, Christoph

Orfeo ed Euridice - Dance of the Blessed Spirits

Paride ed Elena - Ballet from Act 3

Gottschalk, Louis Moreau

Symphony No 1, ‘A Night in the Tropics’

Granados, Enrique

Goyescas - Intermezzo

Greenwood, Jonny

Popcorn superhet receiver

Grieg, Edvard

Holberg suite

Norwegian Dances

Peer Gynt

Piano Concerto

Symphony in C minor

Two elegiac melodies, Op 34

Two lyric pieces, Op 68

Two Norwegian melodies, Op 63

Hallgrímsson, Hafliði

Cello Concerto, Op 30

Handel, George Frederick

Concerti grossi, Opp 3 and 6

Oboe Concertos

Organ Concertos: Op 4; 'Second set'

Water music

Harle, John

Briggflatts, s sax & orchestra

Haydn, Joseph

Cello Concertos in C and D

Il ritorno di Tobia - Sinfonia

Le pescatrici - Sinfonia

Piano Concerto in D HXVIII: 11

The seven last words of our Redeemer on the cross

12, 22, 28, 34, 43-5, 48, 49, 55, 59, 60, 64, 70, 80, 83-5, 88, 94, 95, 99, 101, 103, 104

Trumpet Concerto

Violin Concerto in G, H VIIa:4

Haydn, Michael

Symphony in G, P 16

Trumpet Concerto in C

Henze, Hans Werner

Double Concerto

Hindemith, Paul


The Four Temperaments

Symphonic Metamorphoses on Themes by Weber

Holst, Gustav

A Fugal Concerto

A Moorside Suite

A Song of the Night

Brook Green Suite

Invocation, cello and orchestra

The Perfect Fool - ballet

The Planets

St Paul's Suite

Honegger, Arthur

Pastorale d’Été

Horneman, Christian

Gurre suite

Hummel, Johan Nepomuk

Piano Concerto No 2, Op 85

Humperdinck, Engelbert

Hänsel und Gretel - Prelude

Ibert, Jacques



Ireland, John

A Downland suite

Piano Concerto

Ives, Charles

The Unanswered Question

Tone roads 1 & 3

Variations on 'America', orch. William Schuman

Janácek, Leos


On an overgrown path, orch David Matthews


Suite for strings

The cunning little vixen - suite, arr Talich/Mackerras

Jongen, Joseph

Symphonie Concertante, organ & orchestra

Kabalevsky, Dmitri

Colas Breugnon overture

Khachaturian, Aram

Gayaneh: Sabre Dance


Khrennikov, Tikhon

Much ado about nothing, suite

Kodály, Zoltan

Dances of Galánta

Korngold, Erich Wolfgang

The sea hawk - overture

Violin Concerto

Lalo, Edouard

Cello Concerto

Symphonie espagnole

Legrand, Michel

The summer of '42

Lehár, Franz

The Count of Luxembourg overture

Gold and silver

Liszt, Ferenc

Les préludes



Piano Concertos 1 & 2

Lutoslawski, Witold



Symphonic Variations

Lyadov, Anatoly


Lyatoshinsky, Borys


MacMillan, James


Mahler, Gustav

Symphonies 1-6, 9, 10


Marcello, Alessandro

Oboe Concerto in D minor

Maric, Dave


Martin, Frank

Ballade for flute

Pavane Couleur du Temps

Martinu, Bohuslav

Cello Concerto 1

Concertino, piano trio and strings

La Bagarre

Symphony No 6, 'Fantasies symphoniques'

Mendelssohn, Felix

Calm sea and prosperous voyage

Concerto, D min, piano, violin & strings

Die schöne Melusine


A midsummernight's dream - overture and incidental music

Piano Concertos 1 & 2

Ruy Blas overture

String Symphonies: 2, 9, 11

Symphonies 1-5

Violin Concertos: D min, E min

Milhaud, Darius

Chamber symphonies 1-5

La création du monde


Mozart, Leopold

Casssation in G ('Toy symphony')

Die Musikalischen Schlittenfahrt: Divertimento in F

Mozart, Wolfgang

Adagio and Fugue

Andante in C, flute and orchestra, K315

Flute, K313
Horn, 1-4
Oboe/Flute, K 314
Piano: K107, 1-3 (after JC Bach); Nos 5, 6, 8, 9, 11-13, 17, 20-23, 26
Violin: 1, 3-5

Five Contredanses, K609
Six German Dances, K571

Divertimenti, K136-8

Eine kleine Nachtmusik

Epistle Sonatas

Masonic funeral music

Così fan tutte
Die Entführung aus dem Serail
Don Giovanni
The impresario

Rondos, violin and orchestra: B flat, K269; C, K373

Serenade in D, K203

Sinfonia Concertante, violin & viola

Symphonies: K141a, 14, 16, 29-31, 33-36, 38-41

Musgrave, Thea


Song of the Enchanter

Musorgsky, Modest

Khovanshchina: Prelude; Dance of the Persian Slaves

Pictures at an exhibition (orch. Ravel)

Night on Bare Mountain

Nielsen, Carl

Helios overture

Little suite

Maskarade – overture

Symphonies 2 and 3

Nørgård, Per


Pachelbel, Johann

Canon and Gigue

Paganini, Niccolo

Introduction and Variations on ‘Dal tuo stellato soglio’ from Rossini's Mosè in Egitto

Violin Concerto No 1

Panufnik, Sir Andrzej

Concertino, timpani, percussion & strings

Parry, Sir Hubert

An English suite

Symphonic variations

Pärt, Arvo

Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten


Symphony 3

Piazzola, Astor

The Four Seasons


Poulenc, Francis

Flute Sonata orch. Lennox Berkeley

Organ Concerto

Prokofiev, Sergey

Andante, Op 50a


Overture on Hebrew themes

Peter and the wolf

Piano Concerto 3

Romeo and Juliet

Symphonies: 1, 5, 7

Violin Concertos 1 & 2

Visions fugitives (orch Barshai)

Puccini, Giacomo


Manon Lescaut: Intermezzo

Preludio Sinfonico

Purcell, Henry

Chacony, G minor

The fairy queen, suite

Trumpet tune, called The Cibell

Quantz, Johann Joachim

Flute concertos

Rakhmaninov, Sergey

Isle of the dead

Piano Concertos 1-4

Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini

Symphonic Dances

Symphonies 1-3

The rock


Ravel, Maurice


Daphnis and Chloé

La valse

Le tombeau de Couperin

Mother Goose

Pavane pour une infante défunte

Piano Concerto in G

Piano Concerto for the left hand

Rapsodie espagnole


Valses nobles et sentimentales

Rawsthorne, Alan

Oboe Concerto

Rebel, Jean-Féry

Les Élémens

Reger, Max

Piano Concerto

Respighi, Ottorino

Ancient Airs and Dances, suite No 3

Fountains of Rome

Pines of Rome

Roman Festivals

The Birds

Trittico Botticelliano

Reznicek, Emil von

Donna Diana overture

Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolay

Capriccio espagnol


Russian Easter Festival

The golden cockerel, suite

The tale of Tsar Saltan:
Suite, op 57
The Flight of the Bumble Bee

Rodgers, Richard

Carousel - waltz

On your toes - Slaughter on Tenth Avenue

Rodrigo, Joaquín

Concierto de Aranjuez

Zarabanda lejana y villancico

Roman, Johan Helmich

Drottningholm Music

Rossini, Gioacchino

Il Signor Bruschino
La cenerentola
La gazza ladra
L'italiana in Algieri
The silken ladder
William Tell

String Sonatas nos 1 & 3

Rossini, Gioacchino (attrib)

Bassoon Concerto

Rutter, John

Suite antique

Saint-Saëns, Camille

Cello Concerto 1


Introduction and rondo capriccioso

Piano Concertos 2, 5

Symphony No 3

Sammartini, Giuseppe

Recorder Concerto in F

Sarasate, Pablo de


Satie, Erik


Schmidt, Franz

Introduction, Interlude and Carnival Music, from Notre Dame

Schnittke, Alfred

Concerto grosso nos 1 & 3

Monologue, viola & strings

Moz-Art à la Haydn


Suite in the old style

Schoenberg, Arnold

Chamber Symphony no 1

Verklärte Nacht

Schubert, Franz

Adagio and rondo, violin & orchestra, D438

Overture in B flat, D470

Overtures 'in the Italian style', D590/591

String Quartet in D minor, 'Death and the maiden', D810 -
transcr Mahler for string orchestra

Symphonies 1-6, 8, 9

Schumann, Robert

Cello Concerto

Genoveva overture

Overture, scherzo and finale

Manfred overture

Piano Concerto

Symphony in G minor ('Zwickau' symphony)

Symphonies: 1, 4 (1841 and 1851 versions)

Violin Concerto

Serly, Tibor

Rhapsody, viola and orchestra

Shchedrin, Rodion

Carmen Suite

Concerto for Orchestra 1, 'Naughty Limericks'

Shostakovich, Dmitri

Cello Concerto 1

Chamber Symphony (String Quartet no 8, orch Barshai)

Cheryomushki: ballet

Festive overture

The gadfly

The golden age: Polka

Jazz Suite no 1

The limpid stream: Adagio, cello & orchestra

Piano Concertos 1 & 2

Symphonies nos 5-7, 10

Violin Concerto 1

Sibelius, Jean

Belshazzar's feast

En saga


Humoresques, violin and orchestra, Opp 87 and 89

Karelia suite

Kuolema: Valse triste; Scene with cranes

Lemminkainen: The Swan of Tuonela; Lemminkainen’s Return Home

Pelléas and Mélisande

Romance in C

Suite champêtre

The bard

Symphonies 1-7

Violin Concerto

Skempton, Howard


Smetana, Bedrich

The bartered bride - Overture and dances

Má vlast

Strauss, Eduard

Bahn frei!

Strauss, Johann 1

Chinese galop

Hommage à la Reine de la Grande Bretagne

Radetsky march

Strauss, Johann 2


Auf der Jagd

Bauern polka

By the beautiful blue Danube

Champagne polka-

Die Fledermaus overture

Egyptian March

Eljen a Magyar!

Emperor waltz

Im Krapfenwald'l

Memory of Covent Garden

Night in Venice overture

Perpetuum mobile

Ritter Pazman

Tales from the Vienna Woods

Thousand and one nights

Thunder & lightning

Tik Tak polka


Strauss, Josef

Jokey Polka

Moulinet Polka

Music of the spheres

Ohne Sorgen!

Strauss, Richard

Don Juan


Ein Heldenleben

Horn Concertos 1 & 2


Rosenkavalier suite

Till Eulenspiegel

Tod und Verklärung

Stravinsky, Igor

Apollon Musagètes

Circus Polka

Concerto in E flat, 'Dumbarton Oaks'

Concerto in D (strings)

Danses concertantes


The firebird



The rite of spring

Scènes de ballet

Symphony in C

Violin Concerto

Suk, Josef

Fantastic scherzo

Meditation on an old Czech hymn, 'St Wenceslas'

Serenade for strings

Sullivan, Sir Arthur

Overture di Ballo

Suppé, Franz von

Light cavalry

Morning, noon & night in Vienna

Svendsen, Johan

Carnival in Paris

Sviridov, Georgy

The snowstorm

Szymanowski, Karol

Symphony no 2

Violin Concerto No 2

Tarrodi, Andrea

Paradisfåglar I & II

Tartini, Giuseppe, arr Jacob

Concertino for clarinet

Tavener, Sir John


Tchaikovsky, Pyotr

Concert fantasy

Capriccio italien


Eugene Onegin: Waltz and Polonaise

Francesca da Rimini

Manfred Symphony

Marche slave

Pezzo capriccioso

The nutcracker

The sleeping beauty

Piano Concertos 1 & 2

Romeo and Juliet


Sleeping beauty: Waltz

Souvenir de Florence

Swan lake

Symphonies: 1, 2, 4-6

Variations on a rococo theme (both versions)


Violin Concerto

Telemann, Georg

C, recorder
E minor, recorder and flute
G, viola

Suite, A minor, recorder and strings

Suite in G: Burlesque de Quixotte

Thomas, Ambroise

Overture: Raymond

Thorvaldsdóttir, Anna


Tippett, Sir Michael

Little music for string orchestra

Ritual dances, from The midsummer marriage

Torelli, Giuseppe

Concerti Grossi, op 8

Torke, Michael

Adjustable Wrench

Bright Blue Music

Turina, Joaquín

Danzas fantásticas

Turnage, Mark-Anthony

On all fours

Vasks, Peteris


Vaughan Williams, Ralph

Charterhouse Suite

English folk songs

Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis

Five variants of 'Dives and Lazarus'

The lark ascending

Oboe Concerto

A London Symphony

Pastoral symphony

Symphonies 4, 5, 9

Violin Concerto

Verdi, Giuseppe

La forza del destino: overture

La traviata: prelude, Act 3

Macbeth: ballet music, Act 3

Nabucco: overture

Villa-Lobos, Heitor

Bachianas Brasileiras no 4

Vivaldi, Antonio

L'estro armonico, Op 3

La stravaganza, Op 4

Il cimento dell'armonia', Op 8
1-4, 'The four seasons'
5, 'La tempesta di mare'

Flute concertos, Op 10

Individual concertos:
B flat, violin & cello, RV547
C, flautino, RV443
C, flautino, RV444
C, two trumpets, RV537
D, lute/guitar, RV93
D, RV124
D, violin, RV212
G min, two cellos, RV531

L'Olimipade: Sinfonia

Sinfonia, G, RV146

Wagenaar, Johan

Cyrano de Bergerac

Wagner, Richard

Der Fliegende Holländer: overture

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Preludes to Acts 1 and 3

Lohengrin: Preludes to Acts 1 and 3

Siegfried: 'Forest Murmurs'

Siegfried idyll

Tannhaüser: overture

Tristan und Isolde: Prelude and Liebestod

Waldteufel, Emile

Les patineurs

Walton, Sir William

Cello Concerto

Crown imperial

Henry V

Johannesburg Festival Overture


Portsmouth Point


Sinfonia concertante, piano & orchestra

Viola Concerto

Violin Concerto

Warlock, Peter

Capriol Suite

Waxman, Franz

Carmen Fantasie

Weber, Carl Maria von

Andante e Rondo Ungarese

Clarinet Concertos 1 & 2

Der Freischütz, overture

Euryanthe, overture

Invitation to the dance (orch. Berlioz)

Weill, Kurt

Kleine Dreigroschenmusik

Symphony 2

Violin Concerto

Weir, Judith

Piano Concerto

Wirén, Dag

Serenade for strings

Wolf, Hugo

Italian serenade

Wood, Sir Henry

Fantasia on British sea songs

Orchestral notesChoral/vocal/stage
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