Imperial College Sinfonietta – Sat 11 March, 7pm, Great Hall, Sherfield Building, South Kensington

A ‘circular’ masterpiece

Cesar Franck was one of the great organ improvisers – and an inspiring teacher to a generation of French composers. It’s probable that Debussy’s structural innovations (his String Quartet, for example) wouldn’t have come to pass were it not for the circular forms created by his teacher. Cesar Franck’s Symphony in D Minor takes a ‘cross’ motif that Bach would have recognised. He then meditates on it over the course of a three-movement symphony. Every theme and instrument is given its full character and space, like the organ stops and architecture of his beloved Saint-Clotilde in Paris. The recurrence of the cross motif brings us around with perfect timing to a blazing finale, with four trumpets blasting away jubilantly.

We are delighted to welcome back Aishwarya Swaminathan Saravanan, who led Sinfonietta for two years as an undergraduate. Her rendition of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor is passionate and inspiring. And the programme begins with Sibelius’ rousing Finlandia.

Tickets and map