Ladies and Gentlemen,
we would like to kindly inform you that due to her illness, Baiba Skride will not perform in the symphony concerts on 24 and 25 February 2023. The solo part in the Carl Nielsen’s Violin Concerto op. 33 will be performed by Johan Dalene.
The symphonic poem Don Juan was penned by the twenty-four-year-old Richard Strauss. It was the first in a series of nine programme symphonic works, based on the musical form developed by Berlioz and Liszt. The impulse and poetic inspiration here comes from a poem by the Romantic Austrian poet Nikolaus Lenau, selected stanzas of which Strauss placed in his score. Rather than depicting a cynical seducer, they symbolise the joy of life and are full of youthful enthusiasm and unrestrained passion. The first performance of Strauss’ work took place in Weimar on 11 November 1889, under the composer’s baton, and brought him great and lasting success.
Carl Nielsen found work on his Violin Concerto, Op. 33 a far from easy task. Dedicated to the Hungarian violinist Emil Telmányi, the composer’s son-in-law, the piece was completed in 1911. Nielsen began his work on it in the summer, when he visited the Troldhaugen estate in Bergen at the invitation of Nina Grieg (the widow of Norway’s most famous composer). In his desire to achieve a “supreme unity,” combining “a popular and spectacular and yet not superficial content that is emotionally charged,” the composer departed from the traditional three-movement form. The work’s demanding material is divided into two parts: each opens with a slow introduction and an extended solo part, followed by the main passage at a faster tempo, which is a full-fledged dialogue between virtuosity and orchestral pathos.
Composed in 2023, Ivan Vrublevskyi’s Moment of Silence, dedicated to the victims of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, will be performed for the first time by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra on the first anniversary of the military attack. The monometer character of the piece, whose entire rhythmic plan is subordinated to a single rhythmic value, invites reflection, and evokes associations with the ever faster beating of a wounded heart.
With the 1883 brawls surrounding the first performance of his Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90 still fresh in his memory, Brahms chose Meiningen, a small town in central Germany, at the time famous for its excellent theatre and fine orchestra, led by Hans von Bülow, to be the birthplace of his Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98. Performed on 25 October 1885, the Fourth won the hearts of the audience, who demanded an encore of the third movement (Allegro giocoso), a passage with an unusual structure, in that it lacks a trio, i.e. a contrasting middle section. The Finale, on the other hand, takes the form of a passacaglia with thirty-two variations, the theme of which is taken from Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantata Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich, BWV 150, which has prompted numerous interpreters to ponder the obscure question of the composer’s religiosity.