Virtual Concert: Divertimento

Friday 19.2.2021 19.00 Spring Series 2 & 3
Spring Series 2 Spring Series 3
Friday 19.2.2021 19.00 YouTube
Spring Series 2 Spring Series 3

Live stream on Tapiola Sinfonietta´s YouTube channel on Friday 19th February at 7 pm.

Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto no. 2 is an international work. Prokofiev sketched its first theme in Paris and the second in Voronezh in Russia, and he completed the orchestration on the island of Baku. Top violinist Baiba Skride is the soloist, and the orchestra is conducted by Clemens Schuldt.

The program is subject to change, even in the last minutes. The most current information is found on our website:



Bohuslav Martinů

Sinfonietta La Jolla

Born in what is now the Czech Republic, Bohuslav Martinů was one of the many European artists that emigrated from Europe to the USA to escape the Second World War. When his homeland fell into the Eastern bloc led by the Soviet Union after the war, in 1948, he decided to stay permanently in the New World. In the event, however, he returned to Europe in the 1950s, living mainly in France and Italy. Martinů enjoyed living in the USA. He had teaching jobs, and his works were performed reasonably often. During his years in the USA, Martinů wrote music mainly in a Neo-Baroque style that was appreciated by local audiences.
One of the most attractive works in Martinů’s extensive output of nearly 400 works is Sinfonietta La Jolla, commissioned by the music association of La Jolla, a district of the city of San Diego, in 1950. The commission asked for a melodic, accessible work, and Martinů delivered. Although he wrote the work in the hectic atmosphere of New York, it can well be imagined to illustrate the happy life of the seaside town of La Jolla near the Mexican border. The work is scored for a small orchestra, including a piano, which Martinů often included in his orchestral works but which here is in an obligato role more prominent than usual.
The three-movement Sinfonietta is one of the last works that Martinůn wrote in the Neo-Baroque style. The first movement emerges as vivaciously energetic and brisk, and soon a soaring melody appears over the rhythmic movement, as so often with Martinů, cleverly syncopated to keep it independent from the basic pulse. The melodic element is heightened in the slow movement, first in the simple piano melody appearing over the steady string accompaniment and then as a nostalgic violin tune and a chromatic theme on winds leading to an intense culmination. In the final movement, the Baroque beat of the opening movement returns, though the rhythmic energy gives way to a melodic passage before the crisp and concise conclusion.

Kimmo Korhonen

Sergei Prokofiev

Violin Concerto no. 2 in G minor op. 63

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953): Violin Concerto no. 2 in G minor op. 63

Sergei Prokofiev’s two Violin Concertos were written at important transitions in his career. Violin Concerto no. 1 (1916–1917) was one of the last works he wrote before emigrating from Russia because of the Revolution. He never really settled anywhere in the West, leading basically a nomadic existence. Violin Concerto no. 2 (1934–1935), by contrast, was one of his final Western commissions before his return to the motherland in 1936, albeit a motherland that had changed virtually beyond recognition in the meantime. Prokofiev himself referred to his wandering years when describing the genesis of his Violin Concerto no. 2: “Reflecting the ambulatory lifestyle of concert tours, the work was written in a variety of places. The main subject of the first movement was written in Paris, the first subject of the second movement in Voronezh, the orchestration was completed in Baku and the premiere took place in Madrid in December 1935.”

Violin Concerto no. 2 heralded the warmer and one might even say Romantic idiom that became Prokofiev’s dominant style in his second Russian period. Its best-known and best-loved manifestation is the ballet Romeo and Juliet, which he wrote partly concurrently with the concerto. Violin Concerto no. 2 is a demanding work for the soloist but is not a virtuoso vehicle and has no solo cadenza.

In the first movement, both the Russian-tinted main subject presented by the solo violin alone and the Romantically melodic second subject are predominantly lyrical, but the movement has quirkier moments in its transitions. The second subject in particular bears a resemblance to the love music in Romeo and Juliet, and the opening of the second movement reinforces this impression. Here, too, scherzo-like elements balance the principally melodic material. The finale is dance-like, and the solo part gains in sharpness towards the end. If we were to seek further parallels with Romeo and Juliet, we might identify this edginess with the mischievousness of Romeo’s trusted friend Mercutio.

Kimmo Korhonen

Joseph Haydn

Symphony no. 90 in C major

Although Haydn spent much of his career writing music in isolation from the musical world at large at the court of Prince Esterházy, his music began to be known around Europe early on. He began to expand his symphonic empire in the 1780s, his employer having granted him permission to write symphonies for outside commissioners. It was at this time that he wrote a large number of pieces for French performers, first the Paris Symphonies (nos. 82–87) in 1785–1786 and then the next five symphonies in two batches. The Paris Symphonies were commissioned by the distinguished French concert institution Le Concert de la Loge, one of whose founding members, Comte Claude-François-Marie Rigoley d’Ogny, personally commissioned Haydn’s Symphonies nos. 90–92 (1788–1789).
Symphony no. 90 may not be one of Haydn’s best-known works, but it boasts original and creative musical solutions. In the first movement, Haydn established unity between the slow introduction and the fast main section by taking one of the motifs in the introduction and using it to begin the main subject of the main section. The second subject is performed first on a flute, then on an oboe, and overall there are plenty of solos and independent wind parts in the Symphony. The slow movement follows a favourite structure of Haydn’s: variations on two alternating themes. The differing characters of the themes lends character to the movement: the first is in a bright F major, the second in a dramatic F minor. Here, too, there are prominent solo passages: a flute solo in a variation of the major-key theme and a cello solo in a variation of the minor-key theme.
The Minuet is in keeping with the French ideals of elegant ceremony, perhaps in a deliberate nod to the Comte d’Ogny. An oboe solo takes centre stage in the pastoral Trio section. The energetic finale is built around a single theme. For the end, Haydn has one more surprise up his sleeve: a false ending, a four-measure pause and then a transition to D flat major and an adventure through an unusually expanded coda back to the terra firma of the home key, C major.

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