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Friday 9.4.2021 19.00 Spring series 3
From 29/23/12 € Espoo Cultural Centre
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Friday 9.4.2021 19.00 From 29/23/12 € Espoo Cultural Centre

Tonight’s programme is an invitation to humanity and spirituality. In Zinovjev’s dramatic Cello Concerto and Shaw’s work, instruments lament and sigh, oscillating between dream and reality. Mendelssohn’s ‘Reformation’ Symphony is like a portal to a new and better world. Tapiola Sinfonietta is conducted by Klaus Mäkelä and the soloist is violinist Pekka Kuusisto.

At the afterparty, Mäkelä and Kuusisto present the world premiere of Sauli Zinovjev’s Duo for violin and cello.

NOTE: In the printed season programme 2020/21 title of the concert is Youth (Nuoruus).

 

Artists

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.

Pre-concert talk

18:15

Klaus Mäkelä gives an introduction to the concert (in Finnish).

Sauli Zinovjev

Cello Concerto ”Die Welt – Ein Tor”

Sauli Zinovjev came onto the radar of the Finnish musical public when he won 3rd prize in the International Uuno Klami Composition Competition with his orchestral work Gryf (2013) in November 2014. Since then, he has written several well-received works, and orchestral music seems to be his main metier.
Zinovjev’s expressive palette extends from soaring melodies to intense sound fields and powerful rhythmic pulsation, and his works often have a high, almost Romantic emotional charge. His Cello Concerto Die Welt – ein Tor [The world – a gate], completed in November 2017, owes a fair bit to German Romantic philosophy, as the title is borrowed from a poem by Friedrich Nietzsche (1884). The poem describes a Romantic archetype, the solitary wanderer whose only apparent companions in the bleak landscape are crows. The titular lines of the concerto are: “Die Welt – ein Tor / Zu tausend Wüsten stumm und kalt!” [The world – a gate / To a thousand deserts, silent and cold!].
Focused and stripped bare, Zinovjev’s work reflects the desolate atmosphere of the poem. The work is in a single movement lasting about 15 minutes, framed by four brief solo cadenzas for the cello. The solo part is not a traditional virtuoso vehicle but instead generates a glowing, fiery intensity from the very first cadenza that opens the work. The cello is underpinned by mostly slow-moving dark sounds from the orchestra that finally, between the third and fourth cadenzas, escalate to the highest culmination of the work. At the end of the final cadenza, the intensity dies out as the music fades away, the last performing instruction in the score being morendo.

Caroline Shaw

Entr'acte

Born in the USA and now living in New York, Caroline Shaw emerged on the musical scene by becoming the youngest person ever, at 30, to win a Pulitzer Prize, for her work Partita for 8 Voices. She is also known as a violinist and a singer, and she has worked in a wide variety of musical genres beyond art music, for instance as a producer on an album by rap artist Kanye West.
In her Pulitzer Prize winning work, Shaw drew inspiration from early music and titled the movements after Baroque dances. A similar gaze to the past can be found in Entr’acte for strings. Shaw originally wrote this for string quartet in 2011 and adapted it for string orchestra in 2014.
Entr’acte was inspired by a performance by the Brentano Quartet of Joseph Haydn’s String Quartet in F major op. 77/2. Shaw has said that the string quartet is an ensemble particularly dear to her; she knows what it is like to play in a quartet, bouncing ideas back and forth and forming part of the sound of the whole. She was particularly interested in the Minuet, the second movement of the Quartet, where the F major of the opening section transitions to D flat major, economically and soulfully, as she puts it. Accordingly, Entr’acte bears the subtitle ‘Minuet & Trio’.
Shaw’s work does not seek to emulate Haydn, but the music is obviously firmly rooted in tradition. However, this work is not about following tradition but about tradition eroding and crumbling away. Shaw has said that she likes music that transports the listener through the looking glass like Alice in Wonderland in an absurd, subtle, Technicolor transition. These transitions are what create the inner dynamics in Entr’acte.

Sauli Zinovjev

Violin Concerto ‘Der Leiermann’

Sauli Zinovjev’s Violin Concerto ‘Der Leiermann’ was completed in July 2017, the first of his concertos to be completed – only a few months before the Cello Concerto. There is a certain sibling relationship between the two. Subsequently, Zinovjev has written a Piano Concerto (2019).
As with the Cello Concerto, the sub-title of the Violin Concerto betrays a link to German Romanticism, in this case the poem Der Leiermann [The hurdy-gurdy man] by Wilhelm Müller (1794–1827). Müller is best remembered for the extensive song cycles by Schubert setting his texts, Die schöne Müllerin and Winterreise; the latter, which traces the lonely wintery journey of a disillusioned lover, comes to a sombre end with ‘Der Leiermann’. In this poem, the wanderer sees an old man playing a hurdy-gurdy outside a village. The old man is barefoot and waits in vain for passers-by to drop him a coin; only the stray dogs notice him. Zinovjev has noted that the poem’s “balance between reality and what is almost an escapist trance is reflected in the dreamlike inevitability of the Violin Concerto”. Indeed, the concerto is an intense work that plumbs the depths of the inner universe of the imagined narrator.
The work is organised into four movements but is a coherent entity. The opening movement paints a delicate landscape amidst which a three-note motif appears; when this is later played by the soloist, it is marked “Der Leiermann” in the score. The mood is quiet and meditative, though somewhat tense. Towards the end of the movement, the soloist is called upon to improvise a cadenza. In the second movement, the introvert mood begins to open up, and in the third movement the music escalates to faster movement and increasing ornamentation in the solo violin part. A second improvised cadenza follows. In the final movement, the slow breathing and broad sound fields of the opening returns. After a weighty culmination, a reminder of the undulating Leiermann motif from the beginning of the work is heard before the violin part disappears up into the stratosphere.

Felix Mendelssohn

Symphony no. 5 in D minor op. 107 ‘Reformation’

Mendelssohn’s Symphony in D major, known as the ‘Reformation’ Symphony, was completed in 1830 for the 300th anniversary of the most important doctrinal document of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church, the Augsburg Confession, presented to Emperor Charles V at the Augsburg Diet in 1530. The anniversary ceremonies were cancelled because of political tensions in Europe, and the premiere of the Symphony was postponed until 1832, at which time it was performed under the title ‘Symphony to celebrate the revolution of the church’. Mendelssohn later grew dissatisfied with the work, and it was not published until well after his death, in 1868. Although it was the second of his five numbered Symphonies to be completed, it was dubbed Symphony no. 5 because of its late publication.
Mendelssohn incorporated the idea of the Reformation into the work by using two Lutheran hymn tunes. The first movement contains two allusions to a tune that emerged in Saxony in the 18th century, known as the Dresdner Amen. Wagner also used this as the Grail motif in his opera Parsifal. The finale of the Symphony is built around the familiar hymn tune by Martin Luther, Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott. The work can be seen to trace a growth process from spiritual struggles in the first movement to confident faith in the finale.
The first movement opens with a devout introduction, concluding with the first statement of the Dresdner Amen on strings in pianissmo. The fast section emerges in a torrential minor key, and the more subdued second subject provides only a brief respite amidst the storm. The Dresdner Amen recurs at the end of the development.
The middle movements are lighter in conception: the second is a pastoral scherzo, and the third is a slow movement, a ‘song without words’ dominated by a melody on the first violins and concluding with a brief reference to the second subject of the first movement.
The finale follows without a break, beginning with a solemn chorale setting of Ein feste Burg for winds. The hymn tune also appears in the fast section alongside other materials, until at the very end the entire orchestra plays the tune in a broad, unwavering fortissimo.

Afterglow

Pekka Kuusisto, violin
Klaus Mäkelä, cello

Sauli Zinovjev: Duo for violin and cello, World premiere

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