Thursday 20 April 7:30 PM
Gardner conducts Brahms
Friday 21 April 7:30 PM
Like Grieg before him, Carl Nielsen breathed a distinctly Nordic new life into orchestral music, creating music that burst with vitality, humour and energy in its celebration of life. Underneath the composer’s unfailingly direct tunefulness is music of extreme strength, rigour and discipline.
Here Edward Gardner conducts one of Nielsen’s most charming and innovative pieces, the flute concerto written late in the composer’s life to celebrate the shadowy, ambiguous, and French-loving character of his friend, the flautist Holger Gilbert-Jespersen. The ‘staggering virtuosity and charm’ (the Guardian) of flautist Adam Walker (photo: Christa Holka) will bring it to life, before Nielsen’s bracing depiction of the sun rising and setting over the Aegean Sea, the Helios Overture.
As he began to craft a second symphony at his villa in Portschach, Brahms also wrote about the natural beauty that surrounded him. But the symphony that flowed from Brahms’s pen proved more ambiguous – its sunshine interrupted by dark clouds; its idyllic strings frequently interrupted by lugubrious low brass. ‘I would have to admit that I am a thoroughly melancholy person,’ said Brahms when questioned on the subject. But his symphony’s extraordinary insight on the human condition may be tinged with sadness but is beautiful and triumphant at the same time.