To the Bozar this evening for an excellent concert given by the City of Birmingham Orchestra under the athletic baton of Andris Nelsons. The conductor warmed up with the overture from Wagner’s Flying Dutchman, before we relaxed back into Mozart’s piano concerto n° 22 (our second dose of wonderful Mozart this week!), with a fine lyrical performance from German pianist Martin Helmchen, his fingers literally dancing across the keyboard. As an encore Helmchen played an exquisite version of Robert Schuman’s The Prophet Bird. Then Nelsons got back into energetic mode with Beethoven’s 7th Symphony. Beethoven’s genius is brilliantly displayed in this symphony (though as in every other, I suppose!). Each of the four movements builds around instantly recognisable melodies, leaving this listener wondering which of them he would hum on the bicycle ride home! But then, after several well-deserved rounds of applause, came a tragic Latvian air. Nelsons announced, as the encore, Emils Darzins‘ Melancholic Waltz. Afterwards, my excellent Latvian Deputy Director of Translation (a fellow melomane and concert-goer) told me a little more about the piece and the sad life of the composer himself. The Melancholic Waltz, reconstructed after his death (probably suicide) was one of the few orchestral pieces to survive the composer’s maddened destruction of his own work. Once you know this story, the waltz takes on a different, elegiac aspect. That’s Darzins in the picture.