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RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra 2019/2020

Beethoven, Chopin, Caroline shaw, Sibelius CANCELLED

Friday 27th March 2020

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RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra
Joshua Weilerstein conductor
Pavel Kolesnikov piano

Beethoven Egmont Overture / 9’
Chopin Piano Concerto No. 2 / 32’
Caroline Shaw Entr'acte / 11’
Sibelius Symphony No. 5 / 30’

Two startling young talents and four thrilling examples of orchestral writing at its most majestic, heroic, passionate, powerful and poetic.

Conductor Joshua Weilerstein has been acclaimed for his ‘intense, eloquently moving and  spectacularly knife-edge’ performances (Classical Source). So expect fireworks aplenty in Beethoven’s Egmont Overture, a rousing call to arms colliding music and politics to produce a moving defence of personal sacrifice in the face of political oppression – a bold, muscular example of music’s ability to engage both head and heart in times of turmoil.

No less combustible is Chopin’s Second Piano Concerto. Steeped in the romantic, soil-deep ardour of his Polish homeland, it’s a radiant, electrifying masterpiece that seems tailor-made for the ‘abundance of intelligence, sensitivity, musicality, imagination and sheer instrumental mastery’ (Gramophone) of soloist Pavel Kolesnikov.

Pulitzer Prize-winner Caroline Shaw is one of the most approachable and exciting of young American composers. Entr’acte began life as a work for string quartet before blossoming into an orchestral arrangement that takes us through Alice’s looking glass into what Shaw describes as ‘a kind of absurd, subtle, Technicolor’ world. it’s an intricate, beautifully crafted piece of ever-changing contours and jewel-like colours lit up by folk music textures and orchestral splendour.

The Fifth Symphony by Sibelius was commissioned by the Finnish government to mark the composer’s 50th birthday. What they got was probably not what they expected. In his diary, the composer confided: ‘It is as if God Almighty had thrown down the pieces of a mosaic for Heaven’s floor and asked me to find out what was the original pattern’. The result is glorious music laced with atmosphere and emotion that sweeps the listener along with powerful currents of liquid fantasy to end, memorably, in a radiant and dramatic finale described by one eminent music critic as ‘Thor swinging his hammer’.

Preceded at 6.30pm by Soundings free pre-concert talk with Joshua Weilerstein in conversation.

Presented by RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra