Paths

Friday 6.11.2020 19.00 Season concert
From 29/23/12 € Espoo Cultural Centre
Platinum 2020-2021 Gold 2020-2021
Buy tickets
Friday 6.11.2020 19.00 From 29/23/12 € Espoo Cultural Centre
Platinum 2020-2021 Gold 2020-2021

Rich in ideas and inspiration, conductor Ryan Bancroft leads the audience down paths mapped by composers who lived in three millennia. The themes explored are everlasting and universal. The soloist in Thomas Adès’s Violin Concerto is Anthony Marwood, who premiered the work in 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

Tristan Murail

Désintégrations

The metaphor of exploration is often referenced in describing contemporary music and various phenomena within it, as composers drill down into dimensions of interest – artists with a scientific approach, if you will. This metaphor is particularly apt with respect to what is known as ‘spectral music’, which emerged in the late 1970s pioneered by Gérard Grisey (1946–1998) and Tristan Murail. The research aspect of this genre of music is as obvious as it is essential, because the very composition process began with computer analysis of tones and how they can be modified by exploiting the overtone series. Having said that, we should note that even though the compositional process underlying the works resembles the scientific process, the end result is often music that is evocative, colourful and sensuous.
Murail’s Désintégrations for tape and 17 musicians was completed in 1982–1983 and is an early spectral work. All the tones analysed by computer were produced by actual instruments, even though for the purposes of spectral music any sounds could be used as the starting point. The tape part makes no attempt to imitate instruments, yet it blends seamlessly with the orchestra (or vice versa), creating a single, consistent sound world.
The work is divided into 11 sections with varying characters. Murail applied various types of spectral processing to create a varied, multi-stage dramaturgical progression. The work opens with a slow, floating spatial texture with echoing booms that seem detached from gravity. We go through sections ranging from translucent fragility to powerful, even threatening sounds. Murail himself describes light and shadow, increasing and subsiding passion, and rhythms that build up and collapse. Perhaps the most prominent conclusion is the incisive toccata-like structure in the seventh section that speeds up and slows down in turn.

Thomas Adès

Violin Concerto ‘Concentric Paths’

English composer Thomas Adès came to the attention of the musical public at large with his chamber opera Powder Her Face (1995), which was about the decadence of the Duchess of Argyll, who led a fast-paced life in the 1960s. The opera launched Adès’s career with a suitable whiff of scandal and Oscar-Wilde-style wit, but he quickly progressed to more meaningful and serious areas in his art. He has never abandoned traditional materials or dramaturgical ideas in his music, but he has a knack for casting them in an ambiguous and fascinatingly rough and edgy light.
Adès wrote his Violin Concerto (2005) for Anthony Marwood, who premiered it with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe in Berlin in September 2005. It has since rapidly become one of the most frequently performed contemporary works in its genre. Adès himself compares the three-movement structure to a triptych in visual art: the focus is on the extensive middle movement, flanked by two shorter fast movement. The key structural principle he employs here is one of spirals or circles, as demonstrated by the title of the work, Concentric Paths, and further referenced in the titles of the movements: ‘Rings’, ‘Paths’ and ‘Rounds’.
In the opening movement, ‘Rings’, the circular idea emerges in the repetitive kinetic energy of a minimalist yet process-like structure, as the solo violin twirls in stratospheric heights over a lucid, radiant soundscape. The middle movement, ‘Paths’, is a chaconne, a traditional repetitive structure whose harmonic progression is introduced by the violin, punctuated by orchestral accents. The concluding ‘Rounds’ begins with a steady tread underpinned by booming drums and thin melodic lines, like ancient processional music. The pulse accelerates and decelerates until a single gut punch from the orchestra cuts short the swirling upward motion of the solo part.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Symphony No. 41 C KV 551 ”Jupiter”

Mozart’s output as a symphonic composer came to a glorious culmination in summer 1788, which is when he wrote his last three Symphonies, in E flat major (KV 543), G minor (KV 550) and C major (KV 551). These are three very different works occupying different worlds. We do not know whether these were ever performed in Mozart’s lifetime, but it is likely that when writing them he speculated that he would be able to have them performed on some occasion or other, and there were several such potential occasions in the final few years of his life.
The Symphony in C major commonly referred to as the ‘Jupiter’ Symphony is the handsomest end point imaginable for Mozart’s symphonic oeuvre, although in writing it he could of course not have suspected that it would remain his last. It is a work of extrovert, jubilant music that nevertheless also incorporates a serious dimension. The sub-title was not given by Mozart himself; it was probably coined by J.P. Salomon, a German-born violinist and concert promoter who had settled in England.
In the opening measures, Mozart contrasts triplet-enhanced forte blows with a piano response from the strings in a confident Classical balanced structure. The movement as a whole derives its dynamic from these two dimensions – ceremonial declamation and intimate melody. The slow movement begins with a flowing melody, but sweet elegance is obliged to give way to tragic shadings along the way. The lucid Minuet is here no longer a courtly dance but a finely crafted structure with crossing melodic lines and incorporating a surprising forte turn in its Trio section.
The Symphony culminates in a finale that is a veritable surfeit of counterpoint, cast in a sonata form enclosing several fugal structures. In the exposition alone, the notes of the opening motif are used to build up a fugato and the second subject is also contrapuntally scored. The superimposition of thematic elements in various combinations continues in the development, but the real tour de force of counterpoint comes in the coda, where all four (or five, depending on how they are counted) thematic elements combine in a seamless five-part texture.

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