19th century Slavic music occupies a special position in the fundamentally Germano-centric history of music. The awakening of national consciousnesses produced unforgettable compositions from both Czechs and Russians. The programme for this concert, seasoned with intrigue, love, eroticism and jokes, is built around tales by three composers: Smetana, who turned from the Germanified aristocracy to the Czech countryside, Tchaikovsky, who combined musical elements from Western Europe and Russia with exceptional talent, and Rimsky-Korsakov, who is acclaimed as a pioneer of Russian national music.
The overture launching the program is Smetana's second most popular piece, after The Moldau. Although Smetana's second opera, a comedy about lovers preventing an arranged marriage through a clever trick, was first shown in Prague in 1866, it did not gain its final form until 1870. The overture built on the themes of the finale from the second act and the scene depicting the sale of the bride begins with a short fanfare followed by a folksy dance melody evoking the Czech village where the s...tory takes place.
After his suicide attempt, Tchaikovsky withdrew to Clarens to escape from his failed marriage - and composed wonderful works on the shores of Lake Geneva. He wrote his Violin Concerto over the course of only a few weeks in 1878 and honed it to perfection following the advice of his student and friend, the violinist Iosif Kotek. Judged to be unplayable by Leopold Auer, the violinist to whom it was dedicated, the concerto is today nevertheless one of the most frequently performed works of its genre. Serving as the soloist will be Japanese violinist Akiko Suwanai, the youngest ever winner of the International Tchaikovsky Competition, praised by The Times for her "noble playing, with its rhythmic life, taut and rigorous.”
Between the title and opus number of what is really the only piece Rimsky-Korsakov - a member of Russia's The Five - wrote that remains popular today was added the following description: "Symphonic Suite After The Arabian Nights”. This subtitle makes it even more clear that the composition is programmatically based on the collection of stories from the Arab world. Scheherazade (portrayed by the solo violin) escapes death by keeping the Sultan Schariar (trombones and tuba), who has had each of his wives executed one after the other, entertained with her stories for one thousand and one nights. The composer set four tales to music in 1888, associating each of the characters with an appropriate instrument: Sindbad (cello), Kalandar (bassoon), the love story of the Young Prince and the Young Princess (two violins) and the story of a festival in Baghdad.
Presented by: Budapest Festival Orchestra
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Refreshments – Without the Queue
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