Hall: Concert Hall
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The programme brings together music by three luminaries of neo‑Romantic Scandinavian music – from Norway, Denmark and Sweden – inspired by their respective native traditions. The Norwegian Edvard Grieg focused in his mature period on lyrical chamber music forms, showing a preference for piano miniatures and songs. At times, however, he returned to symphonic music. He did so at the request of the great playwright Henrik Ibsen, composing incidental music for the 1876 premiere of Ibsen’s new and innovative drama Peer Gynt. It tells the story of the protagonist’s journey from Norway as far as North Africa. His adventures and the figures he meets allude to Norwegian fables and to literary topoi, but are also a pretext for philosophical and moral reflections on modern life. Grieg’s vivid, colourful music (later contained in two concert suites) eclipsed Ibsen’s drama (rarely staged outside Norway) with its popularity, becoming (along with the A Minor Concerto) – Grieg’s most popular composition worldwide.
Carl Nielsen was born on the Danish island of Funen. In his late Fynsk forar the composer evokes fond memories of childhood. This charming cantata, defined as a lyrical humoresque, is a kind of serene idyll ‘in folk style’, though it makes almost no use of original folk motifs. Instead, it only imitates their simplicity by means of diatonic melodies and syllabic declamation as well as texts which praise the spring and nature. The music delights the ear with multiple delicate shades of subtle orchestral sound.
The Swedish composer Hugo Alfvén is quite frequently compared to Richard Strauss, who was several years his elder. Both lived very long and witnessed fundamental aesthetic changes in art, but remained faithful to the neo‑ Romantic style and to the idea of programmatic music. Both composers were also masters of rich and varied orchestral colours. Midsommarvaka Op. 19 (1903) is the earliest of Alfvén’s three Swedish rhapsodies. It is at the same time his most popular work, quoting folk songs and dances to evoke the atmosphere of Midsummer Night rituals. This lively piece has also been adapted for the ballet.
You are invited to this concert by Fundacja BNP Paribas – Warsaw Philharmonic Sponsor of the Year