Kocsis season ticket / 2
Wednesday, 3 February 2021, 7:30 pm
Edvard Grieg: Peer Gynt, op. 23 – excerpts
Jean Sibelius: Violin Concerto in D minor, op. 47
Carl Nielsen: Symphony No. 3 (Sinfonia espansiva), op. 27
Ágnes Szalai soprano
Péter Pásztor baritone
Kristóf Baráti violin
Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Michael Schønwandt
The title of this concert – "White Nights" – refers to the lands of the north, where the sun never sets during part of the year, and for 24 hours of each day, there is no darkness. What does the "North" mean in our collective consciousness? If we associate the south with a sort of temperamentality, the east with the exoticism of Asian countries, and the west with the development of technology and civilisation, then the north, we would have to say, is a place full of relentless cold and harshness. But when it comes to northern music, which is often also very passionate and energetic, isn't the truth really the exact opposite of all this?
And speaking of cardinal directions, Kristóf Baráti, the soloist for the concert, might also make the audience of this northern concert think of the exciting lands of the south, as he lived in Venezuela between the ages of two and twelve, the period when his musical consciousness was developing. Today the Kossuth Prize-winning violinist is celebrated all over the world, and his repertoire includes every important work written for the instrument. Although the 66-year-old Michael Schønwandt is the pride of the Danish music world, this conductor who is equally at home with the operatic and symphonic repertoires spent his student years at London's Royal Academy of Music. As one of his specialities is the oeuvre of his countryman Carl Nielsen, it is no coincidence that the second part of the concert will feature the Danish composer's third symphony, dating from 1910/11, which is notable for its wordless soprano and baritone solo parts in its second movement. It was Ibsen himself who commissioned his fellow Norwegian Edvard Grieg to write the incidental music for his drama Peer Gynt, a task which the composer took on reluctantly. Nevertheless, the piece eventually became his most popular work. Sibelius's 1904 violin concerto is a similarly popular work that has served for decades as one of the cornerstones of the literature written for the instrument.