31 March 2017, 7:00 pm
The Witold Lutosławski Concert Studio, Warsaw
In March, the Polish Orchestra Sinfonia Iuventus would like to invite you to a concert filled with expressive symphony music of late Romanticism (Tchaikovsky, Bizet) and its echoes in the post-romantic piece by Ravel. It will be conducted by Andriy Yurkevych – the music director (since 2014/2015 season) of Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera, very well known to the Warsaw audiences. The Ukraine-born conductor has developed a wonderful career on world stages (he is also the regular conductor of the S. Krushelnytska National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre in Lviv). His rich repertoire includes opera and symphony pieces of various epochs. He is also a widely acknowledged interpreter of Russian music, including pieces by Tchaikovsky, Rimski-Korsakov, Glinka, Mussorgsky, and Shostakovich.
The name of George Bizet went down in history thanks to the operas The Pearl Fishers and Carmen (a complete failure of the latter – which is hard to believe today – is said to contribute to the premature death of the young genius at the age of only 37…). L’Arlésienne of 1872 was not an opera but “incidental” music to Alphonse Daudet’s play. It was preserved from oblivion, which is frequent in the case of similar compositions, thanks to an original arrangement in the form of a concert suite, known today as the first of two. The second one was created after the composer’s death by Ernest Guiraud. Colourful and spectacular episodes of the suites seem to be shining with the sun of southern France – the place of dramatic action. Bizet included here also intriguing stylisations of early and traditional music motifs.
The symphony rhapsody Tzigane by Maurice Ravel is among the most spectacular violin compositions of its times. It corresponds with the trend of pieces that became immensely popular since the times of Liszt and Brahms, which use stylised motifs from the folklore of Hungarian gypsies (wrongly – despite mutual inspirations – associated with the traditional music of Hungarians), passionately rich in virtuoso ornaments of violin improvisations. The piece (in a violin and piano version) was composed in 1924 with a young Hungarian violinist – Jelly d’Arányi – in mind, who was a student of Joseph Joachim (it is also her whom Bela Bartók dedicated his violin sonatas). After a wonderful reception, the composer soon devised a new version of the piece – with an orchestra accompaniment. During the concert, the daring piece will resound in the interpretation of Maria Włoszczowska who is one of the most talented Polish violinists of her generation and a laureate of many prestigious competitions and the finalist of the latest edition of H. Wieniawski Competition in 2016.
Peter Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in E-minor op. 64 in its idealistic plan (to which the typical romantic motto per aspera ad astra may be referred) is sometimes compared to the glorious symphony by Beethoven, which bears the same number – the main motif of the first movement also here happens to be called the “fate motif”. The emotional span between the tragic beginning and the triumphant end seems even more prominent in the gem of Russian music. The Symphony in E-minor is also an “emblematic” piece – one of those which may be recalled as the most characteristic of its author (and the neoromantic idiom of the music of his homeland, in general), therefore – despite initial criticism – it has enjoyed constant popularity.
Maria Włoszczowska – violin
Polish Orchestra Sinfonia Iuventus
Andriy Yurkevych – conductor
Georges Bizet – Suites No. 1 and 2 from L’Arlésienne (excerpts)
Maurice Ravel – Tzigane Rhapsody for Violin and Orchestra
Pyotr Tchaikovsky – Symphony No.5 in E minor, Op. 64