SAINT-SAËNS

Friday 10.1.2020 19.00 Season concert 1
from 25/19/11€
Buy tickets

SAINT-SAËNS

Friday 10.1.2020 19.00 Season concert 1
from 25/19/11€ Espoo Cultural Centre
Buy tickets
Friday 10.1.2020 19.00 from 25/19/11€ Espoo Cultural Centre

Alexandre Kantorow, described as a young Tsar of the piano, returns as a soloist together with his father Jean-Jacques Kantorow, honorary conductor of the Tapiola Sinfonietta. They continue their series of the complete piano works of Saint-Saëns. This French Romantic selection is combined with Schubert’s Symphony no. 5, a homage to Mozart, and string etudes by master improviser Frank Martin.

Artists

Program

open final rehearsal

10.00-13.00

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. Admission free.

Frank Martin

Etudes for string orchestra

Frank Martin was born in Switzerland and his idiom has a weight and solemnity that can be associated with the German tradition. On the other hand, his native language was French, and his elegant use of tonal colour owes quite a bit to French music.

Martin’s diverse output includes operas, oratorios and other major vocal works, orchestral works (the concertos being particularly noteworthy) and a large number of chamber music works.

Etudes for string orchestra (1955–1956) was written to a commission from Swiss conductor Paul Sacher, one of the most important godfathers of new music in the 20th century. The work is a five-movement suite, where a Neo-Baroque ‘Overture’ with suave melodic lines is followed by four etudes of varying character. The first is ghostly and vague, the ‘etude’ focusing on building a continuous line of the motifs relayed from one instrument to the next. The second is a lively pizzicato study, while the third features an intensive legato melody for violas and cellos. The fourth etude is built on a fugue-like contrapuntal texture.

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

Camille Saint-Saëns

Piano Concerto no. 1 in D major op. 17

At a time when French music was almost exclusively focused on opera, Camille Saint-Saëns broke ground for symphonies and concertos; his Piano Concerto no. 1, for instance, had no French predecessors to speak of.
Saint-Saëns completed his Piano Concerto no. 1 in D major in 1858. The composer said that the Piano Concerto had been “inspired by the forest of Fontainebleau”, but he never expanded on this comment. The inspiration might be sensed in the horn fanfares evoking a hunt in the slow introduction to the opening movement; the fanfares recur in the fast section of that movement and again in the finale.

Except for the slow introduction, the concerto is cast in the conventional three-movement form. The energetic opening movement is followed by a solemn, calm slow movement whose interesting special feature is a cascade of scintillating piano figures that has been seen as a precursor to the Impressionism of Ravel’s Jeux d’eau (1901). The solo part is written in a grand style throughout the work, with profuse arpeggios and scales. In complete contrast to the slow movement, the finale is brisk and bright, and not without humour.

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

Camille Saint-Saëns

Allegro appassionato for piano and orchestra op. 70

French composer Camille Saint-Saëns adhered to the virtues of balance, moderation and clarity of form amidst the tumult of the high Romantic era. He explored a multitude of genres, from opera to symphony and including miniatures. He also wrote a considerable body of concertos, being the most prominent French composer of concertos in the 19th century. He wrote ten actual concertos – five for piano, his own instrument, three for violin and two for cello – and a number of minor solo works with orchestra.

The latter includes the Allegro appassionato for piano and orchestra, completed at the height of his career in 1884 (which should not be confused with the Allegro appassionato for cello and orchestra op. 43). This is a brief piece, perhaps not quite as passionate as the title indicates, certainly not a volcanic outburst like Beethoven’s Appassionata Sonata. While it is charged with a certain energy, it also has the ornamental elegance of Chopin in its piano part and tender lyrical turns.

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

Franz Schubert

Symphony no. 5 in B flat major

Schubert’s Fifth Symphony is the most popular of his early symphonies. The Symphony in B flat major is very much in the spirit of its Classical kindred, particularly the symphonies of Mozart. The key relationships are in keeping with this equilibrium: the first and last movements are in the principal key, while the slow movement is in the subdominant key (E flat major) and the Minuet is in the parallel minor (G minor). The durations of the movements also conform to Classical proportions.

Unlike Schubert’s four earlier symphonies, the Symphony in B flat major does not begin with a slow introduction. There is merely a four-measure intro, so to speak, a curtain-raiser for the main subject that follows. In the development section, Schubert revisits the material in that brief intro. The recapitulation unexpectedly begins in the subdominant key (E flat major), which is what Mozart also did occasionally, as for instance in the ‘simple sonata for beginners’ that is well known to many piano learners (Sonata in C major KV 545).

The slow movement begins with one of Schubert’s loveliest melodies. While presenting with a Mozartian sweet smile, the music goes on to plumb darker depths as well. The Minuet recalls the corresponding movement in Mozart’s late Symphony in G minor; not only is it in the same key, its thematic material is similar too. The energetic finale begins with a catchy Haydnesque theme borrowed from Schubert’s opera Die vierjährige Posten from a year earlier.

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

After-concert sessions

21.00

Services

Show all concerts