Nuances

Friday 13.11.2020 19.00 Season concert
From 29/23/12 € Espoo Cultural Centre
Platinum 2020-2021 Silver 2020-2021
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Friday 13.11.2020 19.00 From 29/23/12 € Espoo Cultural Centre
Platinum 2020-2021 Silver 2020-2021

Adrien Perruchon introduces three works from the 20th century. Adès’s Chamber Symphony features the charming low tones of the basset clarinet, and the Sinfonietta’s own Principal Clarinet Olli Leppäniemi is the soloist in Nielsen’s Clarinet Concerto. Perruchon’s musical background can be deduced from the large number of percussionists required for the programme.

“The basset clarinet lends a divine grandeur to the music.” – Jukka Isopuro, Helsingin Sanomat,  25 Nov 2005

The program is subject to change.
We kindly ask you to check up-to-date information: Special arrangements in Autumn 2020

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Program

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.

Thomas Adès

Chamber Symphony op. 2

It is probably because of the plurality of stylistic options found in music today and the sometimes technically challenging means of contemporary music that composers these days very rarely emerge at such an early age as many composers of the Romantic era or even of the early 20th century. This is why Thomas Adès making his breakthrough under the age of 20, still a student, was so widely noted, not just in the UK but in the musical world at large. Moreover, he soon proved himself to be a comprehensive musician, being also an excellent pianist and conductor. He has since redeemed the great expectations vested in him, becoming one of the most frequently performed and most appreciated composers of our time.
One of Adès’s earliest works is his Chamber Symphony (1990), written when he was 19 and conducted by himself at the Cambridge Contemporary Music Festival in February 1991, a week before his 20th birthday. Adès has said that the work began life as a concerto for basset clarinet but that the instrument ensemble began to acquire a more prominent role until, according to him, it resembled a sort of super basset clarinet.
The title, Chamber Symphony, refers both to the relatively small ensemble (15 musicians) and the brevity of the work. It is cast in the form of a four-movement symphony but amalgamated into a single, concise entity. The work begins with a brief introduction followed by a sonata-form opening movement with main and second subjects, “in the manner of Schubert”, as Adès himself says, except that in the recapitulation the subjects are superimposed. With bell sounds and a trombone solo, the music subsides into the slow movement, which through growing intensity morphs into the brisk scherzo. The final movement follows after an abrupt cut-off, but instead of a traditional fast finale we find an epilogue, bringing the work to a faint and fragile conclusion.

Carl Nielsen

Clarinet Concerto op. 57

Carl Nielsen was, like Sibelius, a great Nordic symphonic composer, and his career path was similar to that of Sibelius in that they both sought to divorce themselves from the emotional excesses of late Romanticism, albeit they achieved this in very different ways. In Nielsen’s late Clarinet Concerto (1928), his Classical idiom is at its purest, more so than in any of his other major works. However, he never went fully Neo-Classical, fashionable though that style was at the time. The small size of the orchestra is in itself a nod towards the Classical era: only two bassoons, two horns and a snare drum in addition to strings.
The genesis of the Clarinet Concerto lay in Nielsen becoming acquainted with the members of the Copenhagen Wind Quintet in 1921. Their music-making inspired him to write his finest chamber music work, the Wind Quintet (1922). A while later, Nielsen developed the idea of writing a concerto for each member of the quintet, but he only completed the Flute Concerto (1926) and the Clarinet Concerto before death intervened. His Clarinet Concerto has since been rated as the finest work in its genre since Mozart.
As in his Violin Concerto (1911) and Flute Concerto, Nielsen here abandoned the traditional three-movement concerto structure and created a structure all his own, following its own internal logic. Through cast in a single movement, the Concerto does betray the outline of a traditional opening movement, slow movement, scherzo and finale. The work begins in an idyllic mood but evolves into a complex tapestry often characterised by abrupt shifts, with moods that are gentle, humorous, aggressive and solemn in turn. The snare drum emerges as an antagonist to the clarinet at times, playing the role of a disruptor in the same way though not as violently as it does in Nielsen’s Fifth Symphony (1922).

Béla Bartók

Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta

One of the particular characteristics of the musical thinking of Béla Bartók was his ability to combine spirited melodic and harmonic invention with a solid underlying structure. He wrote works bursting with the joy of spontaneous invention that are among the most energetic written in the 20th century, but at the same time he conceived his music using structures outstanding in their strictness and conformity to rules.
Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta (1936) is one of Bartók’s finest works and a textbook example of this marriage of apparently conflicting approaches. The work revolutionised the expressive potential of the string orchestra, not only by adding percussion to the mix but also by treating the string instruments themselves in a plurality of ways: the strings are divided into two sections on opposite sides of the stage, and the other instruments are placed between them, lending a spatial dimension to the music.
Bartók’s constructive approach is the most evident in the ghostly, undulating first movement, structured as a fugue on a chromatic subject. Each new voice enters a fifth above or below, until at the culmination of the movement – roughly at the golden section – the music has migrated by a tritone from the original tonal centre. This is followed by a concise retracing of the path to the opening tonality and mood. Elements of the fugue theme recur in the other movements, enhancing the coherence of the work.
The second movement is punchy and brisk, making effective antiphonal use of the two string groups. The third movement is symmetrical (ABCBA). It is the most exciting of Bartók’s many ‘night music’ movements evoking mysterious moods, and as such a harbinger of modern colourist writing. The energetic finale is rooted in folk music, another of Bartók’s characteristic idioms. At the dramaturgical high point of the movement, we hear the fugue theme from the first movement, but now in a broader form, free of its chromatic constraints.

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