Third concert of the Symphony Season, inspired by the Northlands, with Grieg and Sibelius

The concert on September 14 will be directed by the head of the National Symphony Orchestra, Master Jose Antonio Molina. The chosen program of the night brings us works by two composers from the Nordic lands in Europe, the Norwegian Edward Grieg and the Finnish Jean Sibelius, both composers are important figures in the nationalist music of their respective countries.

As guest soloist we will have the formidable Ukrainian pianist Vadym Kholodenko, winner of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition Gold Medal in 2013, and already known as a frequent guest at concerts and seasons in our country. Kholodenko’s career has been on the rise around the world as a soloist with large orchestras, in recital and as a chamber musician. His recordings on the Harmonia Mundi label include the Grieg Piano Concerto that we will hear at the concert on the 14th.

In the first part of the night we will hear the Concert for piano and orchestra in A minor by the composer Edvard Grieg (Bergen 1843 – 1907), considered among the most popular nationalist composers of the late 19th century and the main composer of his native Norway. Thinking primarily of his piano music, the director, Hans Von Bullow, called Grieg “The Chopin of the North.” The concert that we will listen to brings together the peculiarities of Grieg’s style. The exacerbated and triumphant romantic spirit of him is perfectly at the service of the theme of fiery love.

The concert opens with one of the most famous passages in all of classical music. Rated as one of the most popular concertos ever written, its romantic scope, sticky melodies, and rhythmic “joie de vivre” make it irresistible to both pianist and audience. His three movements capture the most indifferent.

It is also an example of how a composer can bring together the traditions of classical and folk music in most melodies, whether based on real folk melodies or inspired by folklore. The strong finale is dominated by the dance rhythms of “halling”, a Norwegian dance that Grieg was particularly fond of. He completed the work in 1868, aged 25. A short time later, he showed it to the greatest virtuoso of the time, Franz Liszt, who made several suggestions, some of which Grieg took into account.

Grieg’s music has airs of country life and contact with nature, an aspect that had great weight in the life of the musician. It is not a music of great heartbreaking contrasts, but it has great lyricism and flows in an agile and calm way. Grieg is primarily a melodist: his works have great melodic appeal and this led to his rapid spread. The piano was the instrument, apart from the voice, to which he dedicated the most works.

In the second part we will hear from the composer Jean Sibelius (1865 – 1957) his Symphony no.1 in E minor, Op.3, written in 1898, and premiered on April 26, 1899.

At the head of the Orchestra will be Maestro Molina in this difficult and beautiful work. Sibelius, considered Finland’s greatest composer, joined the Karelian movement, a group of artists interested in delving into the origins of Finland through the study of the national epic or Kalevala, the Finnish epic poem that recounts the creation of the universe, the coming of the gods and the birth of Finland, whose texts and rhythmic motifs served as material for his music. His work exudes love for nature, is somewhat somber and harmonically conservative, although he uses conventional chords with great freedom. Sibelius was a worthy heir to the romantic tradition, adding to that tradition the coloring of the seasons of his homeland.

His first symphony mixes his own style with certain romantic overtones from Tchaikovsky and Borodin. Sibelius achieves an indelibly vivid sound. It is composed of four movements and lasts approximately 45 minutes.

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Third concert of the Symphony Season, inspired by the Northlands, with Grieg and Sibelius