Friday 6.3.2020 19.00 Season concert 5
from 25/19/11 € Espoo Cultural Centre
Platinum 2020-2021 Silver 2020-2021
Friday 6.3.2020 19.00 from 25/19/11 € Espoo Cultural Centre
Platinum 2020-2021 Silver 2020-2021

Carolyn Sampson, one of the most widely respected sopranos specialising in early music, and conductor Pascal Rophé present a cross-section of French music. A powerful Symphony by Bacri and a set of folk songs from Auvergne arranged by Canteloube are followed by the Carmen Suite arranged by Rodion Shchedrin from the opera by Georges Bizet, scored for strings and four percussionists.




Nicolas Bacri

Symphony no. 4, ‘im “Sturm und Drang” Stil’

Born in Paris, Nicolas Bacri belongs to the younger middle generation of French composers today. His music has an inner intensity, emotional power, strictness and formal discipline, and his idiom could be described as expressive Neo-Classicism or classicised Expressionism just as well.

Tradition also maintains a firm presence in Bacri’s Fourth Symphony (1995). It was commissioned and premiered by l’Orchestre de Picardie, whose composer-in-residence Bacri was. The subtitle alludes to a literary early Romantic style of the late 18th century, described as ‘Sturm und Drang’ (storm and stress).

Bacri’s Fourth Symphony is in four movements, comparable in form to symphonies of the Classical era. In the first movement (‘Omaggio a Richard Strauss’), Sturm und Drang is represented by dynamic contrasts, abrupt shifts, busy energy and the numerous performance indications specifying a bewilderingly wide range of moods (Impetuoso, Furioso, Con ostinazione, Misterioso, Minaccioso, Brutale, Fuocoso, Malizioso, and so on). The stylised approach continues in the slow movement, Arietta (‘Omaggio a Igor Stravinsky’), the Minuet (‘Omaggio a Arnold Schönberg’) and the uptempo finale (‘Omaggio a Kurt Weill’). The concluding section is marked ‘Coda parodica’.

Shortened from Kimmo Korhonen's work presentation
Translation: Jaakko Mäntyjärvi

Joseph Canteloube

Chants d’Auvergne

Auvergne, on the uplands of the Massif Central in the middle of France, is one of the most sparsely populated regions in the country. It derives its name from the Arverni, an ancient Celtic tribe. Culturally, Auvergne is perhaps best known through the series of folk songs collected and arranged by Marie-Joseph Canteloube de Malaret, Chants d’Auvergne. Canteloube created a career as a composer and musicologist, but although he wrote two operas and orchestral and vocal music, it is for Chants d’Auvergne that he is remembered.

Canteloube heard folk songs in the local Occitan language since childhood, and from 1908 he began to record and arrange them. He published his first collection in 1923 and the final, fifth one in 1955. These collections contain a total of 29 songs, of which two are Bourrées where Canteloube merged several songs together.

Canteloube provided these charming folk tunes with a sophisticated and colourful orchestral accompaniment infused with the elegance of French tonal colour that also captures the mental and physical landscape of Auvergne in distilled form. The moods of the songs range from joy to sorrow and from pastoral calm to lively bustling, just as in real life. The original language of the songs is Occitan, spoken in southern France, which Canteloube sought to help revive with his artistic efforts. The songs may also be performed in French, though.

Shortened from Kimmo Korhonen's work presentation
Translation: Jaakko Mäntyjärvi

Georges Bizet / Rodion Štšedrin

Carmen Suite

Arrangements and medleys of tunes from operas were all the rage in the 19th century. The Carmen Suite (1967) by Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin may be seen as a modern extension of this genre. Like 19th-century opera medleys, it strings together the greatest hits from Bizet’s eponymous opera in a continuous texture. Today it is one of Shchedrin’s most popular and best-known works.

Shchedrin was quite faithful to Bizet’s music and treated it with respect and love. The extracts he selected are in a slightly different order than in the opera, but the suite nevertheless provides a cross-section of the dramatic narrative. The work incorporates music from other works by Bizet besides Carmen; for example, the ‘Bolero’ quotes from ‘Farandole’ in L’arlésienne Suite.

Shortened from Kimmo Korhonen's work presentation
Translation: Jaakko Mäntyjärvi

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