National Symphony orchestra

NSO and Elena Schwarz:
Ligeti, Khachaturian, Dvořák

Friday 24th February, 2023

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National Symphony Orchestra
Elena Schwarz
, conductor
Leonard Elschenbroich, cello

Ligeti Concert Românesc
Khachaturian Cello Concerto
Dvořák Symphony No. 7

An opportunity to hear for yourself why Elena Schwarz is ‘taking the world by storm’ (CutCommon) as she partners with the ‘great technical prowess, intellectual curiosity and expressive depth’ (New York Times) of Leonard Elschenbroich for three colourful border-crossing extravaganzas.

György Ligeti’s reputation as one of the most challenging avant garde composers of the last century is only partly deserved. His music has been widely used in film – notably by Stanley Kubrick for 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Shining, and by Martin Scorsese in Shutter Island. We celebrate the centenary of his birth this year with his Concert Românesc, an autobiographical portrait in four effervescent episodes imaginatively borrowing from folk music that recall his childhood in Hungarian-speaking Transylvania. Shot through with the winning vitality of rustic dances, laced with the haunting sound of an alpine horn, it celebrates an idyll, the composer said, ‘in the spirit of village bands’.

Composed in happy anticipation of the birth of his son, Khachaturian’s lively, loving Cello Concerto is a cornerstone of the cellist’s repertoire. Indebted to Armenian folk music, it exploits the instrument’s full expressive range with wit and warmth, bursts of vigorous, exultant energy complimented by passages of serene poetic beauty.

Dvořák set himself the task of ‘stirring the world’ in his Seventh Symphony, an intimate and epic tussle between tragedy and triumph distinguished by a sweeping grandeur, adrenalized drama and to-die-for lyricism that calls on the orchestra to reach emotional extremes. Brimming with Slavonic melodies and packed with allusions to his Czech homeland, it’s an invigorating, colour-saturated tribute to ‘God, Love and Country’.

Presented by National Symphony Orchestra