Brilliance

Friday 19.3.2021 19.00 Spring Series 2 & 3
From 29/23/12 € Espoo Cultural Centre
Spring Series 2 Spring Series 3
Buy tickets
Friday 19.3.2021 19.00 From 29/23/12 € Espoo Cultural Centre
Spring Series 2 Spring Series 3

Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn, brother and sister, were early Romantic composers. This programme features Fanny’s lovely melodic String Quartet and Felix’s Symphony no. 1, written at the age of 15. Andrea Tarrod’s Serenade shows influences ranging from Mozart to Miles Davis, and Malin Broman appears as soloist in a Mozart Violin Concerto.

The program is subject to change.
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Open rehearsal 10:00-13:00

Tickets from 5 €, Lippupiste

Come and see how the orchestra works to prepare the evenings concert. The open final rehearsals begin at 10 am and end at 1 pm. You may also leave at the break. An introduction is given in the foyer of the Espoo Cultural Centre at 9.50 am. A

Pre-concert talk

18:15

Kimmo Korhonen introduces the programme (in Finnsh).

Fanny Mendelssohn

String Quartet in E flat major (arranged for string orchestra)

The life of Fanny Mendelssohn (later Fanny Hensel) was bound up in many ways with that of her brother Felix, her junior by four years. It also serves as a sad example of how different the paths charted out for women and men were in the bourgeois society of the 19th century. Fanny and Felix were exceptionally close since childhood and were both taught music by composer Carl Friedrich Zelter. Both showed extraordinary talent at an early age, and they actively critiqued each other’s compositions. Yet Fanny was not allowed to develop her talent into a career like Felix; both Felix himself and their otherwise quite enlightened banker father opposed this.
Professional music-making not being an option, Fanny Mendelssohn focused her musical energies on Sunday concerts that she organised at her parents’ home in Berlin. Most of her own works were written for these occasions and are therefore limited to a small number of performers: solo songs, partsongs, piano works and chamber music. The true merits of Fanny Mendelssohn/Hensel as a composer remained unrecognised for a long time, and it was not until the late 20th century that her music became an object of real interest.
Fanny Mendelssohn’s only String Quartet (1834) is one of her major works along with the later Piano Trio (1846). It is cast in four movements in an unusual but balanced structure. Instead of the traditional opening allegro in sonata form, it has a free-form and intensely melodic slow movement in the first position. The second movement is a lively scherzo, with a dynamic fugato as its Trio section. The third movement is the song-like Romanza, which incorporates moments of lamentation and tension. The work concludes with an energetic finale that is not far removed from the musical realm of brother Felix, although it is impossible to determine which sibling influenced which.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Violin Concerto no. 2 in D major KV 211

Although Mozart’s reputation as a performing musician derives largely from his superb keyboard skills, he was also an excellent violinist. He began studying the violin with his father Leopold at the age of six, and he was leader of the Salzburg court orchestra from 1769 to 1777. He wrote his five Violin Concertos during his active career as a violinist, the first one in spring 1773 (it was his first concerto of any kind) and the other four in 1775, by which time he had only written one Piano Concerto.
The Violin Concertos show the young Mozart exploring the potential of musical expression in a concertante setting, and like his Piano Concertos they emerged from his hands-on experience with the instrument. The Violin Concertos are extremely idiomatically written, featuring elements that suit the instrument admirably. It is not known whether Mozart wrote them for himself or for another violinist, but he is known to have performed at least some of his Violin Concertos with great success. Mozart’s own solo cadenzas have not survived, and it is possible that he never even wrote them down.
In his first two Violin Concertos, Mozart appears as a perpetuator of tradition rather than as an innovator. In the Concerto in D major KV 211, dated June 1775, the opening movement is stylishly galante and built up of four orchestral sections interspersed with three solo sections, as per then current practice. The slow movement features an elegant aria-like melody reminiscent of Aminta’s aria ‘L’amerò sarò constante’ from the opera Il re pastore (KV 208, 1775) that Mozart completed only a few months before the Concerto. The finale has a title alluding to the French style, ‘Rondeau’, and its rondo theme resembles a minuet. In this movement, the solo violin part is at its liveliest, chirping breezily.

Kimmo Korhonen

Andrea Tarrodi

Serenade in Seven Colours

Andrea Tarrodi, who has risen to the forefront among Swedish composers in the 2010s, has often said that she associates music with shapes and colours in her mind. Visual stimuli such as landscapes and even paintings have been important for inspiring her music: “I like to compare [composing] with painting a picture. You start with the background colour, then draw the landscapes and finally the creatures (melodies) that live there.”
Serenade in Seven Colours for winds and percussion (2013) declares its visual input up front, but it also relied on sources of musical inspiration. The first of these was Mozart’s Serenade for winds no. 10 in B flat major, known as the Gran Partita, above all its third movement (Adagio). Another major musical inspiration came from Miles Davis’s and Gil Evans’s album Quiet Nights. Although the music eventually took off in a direction of its own, traces of the above can still be detected.
The work opens calmly, with modal melodies tracing arcs over a regular pulse, similar to the Adagio in Mozart’s Gran Partita (this, by the way, is the music whose oboe melody entranced Salieri in Milos Forman’s film Amadeus). Tarrodi paints a lucid, lyrical Impressionist scene glowing in the many colours of wind instruments. She describes the opening as dark blue and violet, transitioning to almost pure white. A sizzling tremolo field evolves into a rhythmic framework through a quasi-Sibelian suave metamorphosis, whipped up by the xylophone into a minimalist frenzy. The music culminates in what Tarrodi describes as “an explosion of colourful fireworks” and subsides into a final passage that fades into the distance – foggy and cream-coloured in the composer’s mind.

Felix Mendelssohn

Symphony no. 1 in C minor op. 11

Mendelssohn wrote his Symphony in C minor in a short space of time in March 1824, when he had just turned 15. He wrote the ordinal number 13 on the cover sheet, because between 1821 and 1823 he had written 12 Symphonies for strings. But when the C minor Symphony was subsequently published, it was given the number 1, because Mendelssohn regarded his String Symphonies as immature juvenile works and did not wish to add them to his series of numbered Symphonies. The C minor Symphony was given its public premiere in Leipzig in February 1827.
It comes as no surprise that the C minor Symphony is the one of Mendelssohn’s numbered Symphonies that is the closest to Classical ideals, although his own voice is already identifiable. His handling of the orchestra is admirably confident and uncontrived, even though this was his first extensive orchestral work.
The first movement begins dramatically with a tempestuous main subject played by the full orchestra, contrasted by a more intimate lyrical second subject. The influence of Beethoven and Weber is detectable, but features such as the rapidly ticking string figures are unmistakably Mendelssohn. The development is rather concise and controlled, and the culmination of the entire movement does not come until the elaborate coda, which opens with a long note on the horns.
The slow movement in E flat major is built around a warm, Romantic melody presented in a variety of orchestral guises. The next movement is a minuet in 6/4 metre but more akin to a scherzo than a proper minuet in character. The tranquil Trio, with string arpeggios accompanying a chorale melody in the winds, forms an effective contrast to the flanking sections.
The finale, like the first movement, shows the influence of Beethoven and Weber. The energetic main subject and transition are followed by a curious pizzicato passage the turns out to be the accompaniment for the second subject introduced by the clarinet. Mendelssohn uses a fugato in the development, and later, at the end of the recapitulation, another fugato takes the work to its magnificent conclusion in C major.

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