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SUBSCRIPTION/ORCHESTRA
THE GREATEST LIVING SIBELIAN CONDUCTS SIBELIUS’ FIRST

SCHEDULE
20221011 Tuesday 20:00
PLACE
LOTTE Concert Hall
CONDUCTOR
Osmo Vänskä
SOLOIST
Nicolas Altstaedt, Cello
PROGRAM
Donghoon Shin, Kafka's Dream
Walton, Cello Concerto
more
PRICE
R 100,000 S 80,000 A 50,000 B 30,000 C 10,000
※ Please make sure that your mobile phone is switched off.
※ Please do not applaud between the movements.

THE GREATEST LIVING SIBELIAN CONDUCTS SIBELIUS’ FIRST 

 

Tuesday, 11th October, 2022 8PM LOTTE Concert Hall
 

Osmo Vänskä, music director

Nicolas Altstaedt, cello
 

program

Donghoon Shin, Kafka’s Dream *Asian premiere

 The Woman and the Man
 I Am Left Alone
 Amidst a Clash of Worlds
 

Walton, Cello Concerto

 Moderato
 Allegro appassionato
 Tema ed improvvisazioni

--------------- intermission 15 mins ---------------
 

Sibelius, Symphony No. 1 in E minor, Op. 39

 Andante, ma non troppo - Allegro energico
 Andante
 Scherzo: Allegro
 Finale: Andante - Allegro molto - Andante assai - Allegro molto come prima - Andante

Total Duration around 90 mins(incl. intermission)

Donghoon Shin(1983-), Kafka’s Dream for orchestra(2018~19)

  

Kafka’s Dream was inspired by Borges’ poem Ein Traum, which illustrates the approach to intertextuality as a form of homage to Franz Kafka.

There are three characters in the poem: a woman, who is Kafka’s lover, and a man, who is Kafka’s friend. The two fall in love but soon realise that if their affair is discovered, Kafka will stop dreaming about them and they will cease to exist. In turn, Kafka realises that he will be left alone.

The stream of consciousness shared between the three characters in the poem is reminiscent of the complex contrapuntal works of J. S. Bach. Following this dual inspiration from Borges and Bach, I decided to write linear and polyphonic music in which two or three different layers are constantly superimposed, sometimes in harmony and sometimes showing sharp contrasts and conflict. Eventually the different musical layers are gradually extinguished in the second movement, following the fate of the woman and the man in the poem. Only the oboe solo remains surrounded by soft bell sounds in the end of the movement, as Kafka is left alone in the poem.

Additionally, the third movement was inspired by a dream I had while I was working on the previous movements, in which I heard music from them through a different order and with different combinations of instruments. The third movement is a reconstruction of this dream-like music, which reaches a very Borgesian conclusion in the form of a twisted reflection of memories.

 

Text by Donghoon Shin

William Walton(1902-1983), Cello Concerto(1957)

    

When one thinks of the most representative of the twentieth-century British composers, the names of Edward Elgar, Ralph Vaughan William, and Benjamin Britten come to mind. William Walton is up there along with these composers, but his early career was not very successful. His first fame came with Façade of 1923, and his Viola Concerto, written in 1929 is considered as Walton’s greatest masterpiece. His Cello Concerto (1957) is the third and last of his concertos for string instruments, following his aforementioned Viola Concerto and Violin Concerto (1939). It was written in 1956, commissioned by the cellist Gregor Piatigorsky, who was also the soloist at the premiere in Boston on 25 January 1957.

Initial responses to the concerto were mixed. Some criticized the work old-fashioned while others called it a masterpiece, and some even predicted that it would enter the international concert repertoire of the twentieth century. Walton had been regarded as avant garde in his youth, but by 1957, when he was in his mid-fifties, he was seen as a composer in the romantic tradition.

The concerto is in three movements, but does not follow the conventional concerto form: it has a moderate-paced opening movement followed by a much quicker central scherzo and the third movement is improvisatory in nature. The first movement in C major is comprised of the vital and expressive first theme and the relatively calm second theme. The key of the second movement is ambiguous, but most analyses view it either in C-sharp minor and or in A minor. Even though there is a rather slow and lyrical middle section, the overall movement is in very quick tempo. The finale movement, the longest of the three, is consisted of a theme, four “improvisations”, and an extended coda. The improvisations are varied in their characters: the second improvisation functions as a sort of cadenza of conventional concertos, whereas the third improvisation is a brilliant orchestra toccata and the fourth improvisation is marked rapsodicamente (“rhapsodically”).

Despite the divided critical reception after the premiere, Walton’s Cello Concerto is arguably “a modern masterpiece” written in the twentieth century. His rather blunt earlier compositional method is refined and modified in this work with the Waltonesque fresh and original musical ideas, and the listeners can glimpse his deliberation. The cellist Daniel Müller-Schott has called Walton “an English Impressionist” in that the concerto abundantly portrays the natural landscape and colors.

Jean Sibelius(1865-1957), Symphony No. 1 in E minor, Op. 39(1899)

 

Sibelius, one of the most important symphonists of the twentieth century, wrote seven symphonies throughout his life. His symphonies are highly praised as the successor of the Western musical tradition of the Romantic era advocated by such composers as Brahms, Mahler, Tchaikovsky, Dvořák, and Bruckner. On the other hand, his symphonies are unique in their use of modal melodies, simple rhythms, persistent repetition of short motives, ostinato and pedal point techniques, distinctive orchestral colour and strong contrast of texture, all of which differentiate his music from any other composer’s.

Sibelius’s First Symphony conforms to the norm of four-movement symphony. The first movement, preceded by a slow introduction (Andante, ma non troppo), is a majestic allegro, and the second movement has a tragic theme in the mood of Finnish folk music. The third movement Scherzo starts with a fast rhythm and cheerful mood, and the last movement with the title ‘Quasi una fantasia’ (Like a fantasy) has a free form. The melody that had appeared in the introduction of the first movement reappears in the fourth movement, which shares pulse with the technique that Schumann employed in his symphonies, namely the use of cyclic theme. The orchestration of the symphony, with a harp, a base drum, and a triangle, seems to have been influenced by Mahler.

By “teleological germination” technique in which a theme is originated from a motivic fragment, Sibelius wanted to transform a symphony into a new and modern formal structure while keeping the tradition of symphony as a musical genre. At the same time, there are aspects of “symphonic poems” in this symphony, presumably because he felt affinity toward his many previous symphonic poems based on Finnish folk epics.

Sibelius is sometimes considered as a conservative composer who honors existing musical tradition. He certainly followed the standard genre idioms, preferred haunting diatonic melodies, and stayed within the boundary of tonal music. On the other hand, his symphonies fuse majestic tone reminiscent of Nordic landscape of the nature that surrounded him, contemplative mood, and Finnish folk tunes and non-tonal modal music. All of these combine to form unique color of his music, putting his music at the center of the twentieth century symphonic repertoire and appealing to audience of the twenty-first century.

 

Text by Jiyoung Kang | Translation by Sukho Lee



 


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