While Stravinsky’s most famous ballet score The Rite of Spring depicts a girl dancing herself to death, its predecessor Petrouchka tells of a puppet springing to life. When the score first emerged in 1911, it appeared to tell its ghoulish stories of magic, rivalry, intrigue and longing more vividly than any music that had gone before it.
While some Ballet nuts convinced Stravinsky to tone-down the music’s blazing colours and often acerbic hard edge, the composer soon restored all his original extravagance for the concert version of the score. Chief conductor Edward Gardner conducts that version here, in all its wicked detail and irreverence. Before it comes Carl Nielsen’s foray into musical impressionism, his hazy and misty orchestral take on the story of Pan and Syrinx from Ovid’s Metamorphoses that was described as a ‘Danish Prelude à l’Après-midi d’un faune’ after its first performance in 1918.
The concert’s own contribution to muiscal history comes from the world premiere of a brand new cello concerto by Therese Birkelund Ulvo, one of Norway’s most sought-after composers, commissioned and played by the winner of the 2021 Norwegian Soloists’ Prize, Amalie Stalheim (photo: Nikolaj Lund).