Göteborgs Konserthus Enigmatic and colourful with Andsnes

Beautiful concert evenings with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, conductor Magnus Fryklund and pianist Leif Ove Andsnes.

Concert length: 2 h incl. intermission Scene: Stora salen
370-530 SEK Student 185-265 SEK

The beautiful Enigma Variations put composer Edward Elgar on the international musical map and is a key work in the history of classical music. One evening, Elgar had entertained his wife with musical caricatures of some of their friends, which soon developed into a number of orchestral variations.

Elgar said: ”This work commenced in a spirit of humour and continued in deep seriousness”. The 14 individuals described in the music include his wife, the publisher Jaeger and Elgar himself.

In this concert we also meet the Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, one of the world’s most acclaimed and popular soloists, in Debussy’s sparkling, masterful and colourful Fantaisie for piano and orchestra.

The evening begins with British composer Anna Clyne’s Abstractions, with music inspired by five abstract works of art.

Listen

Get to know the classic works.

Get to know the composer Anna Clyne.

Introduction to the concert

Take a seat in the Great Hall one hour before the concert begins and learn more about the music you will soon experience! You will get the stories behind the music, knowledge of the composers and own reflections about the classical pieces. The introduction last for about 30 minutes, it is free and free seating in the hall. Warm welcome!

Programme

Anna Clyne (f 1980) Abstractions Abstractions is a suite in five movements inspired by five contrasting contemporary artworks from the Baltimore Museum of Art and from the private collection of Rheda Becker and Robert Meyerhoff. The work premiered in North Bethesda, Maryland in 2016 with the Baltimore Symphony conducted by Marin Alsop. "By drawing inspiration from these works of art, I have tried to capture emotions or imagery that they evoke, the concept of the work or the process that the artists adopted. Some common threads between the artworks are their use of limited color palettes, references to nature and capturing time as a flowing stream, distilling and preserving it for us to contemplate. I was also attracted to the structures in these works, which at first glance could be seen as random, and even chaotic, but which are in fact created within a sense of order – they feel both dynamic and structural.” (Anna Clyne)

Claude Debussy (1862-1918) Fantaisie for piano and orchestra Four years before his famous Prelude to a Faun's Afternoon, Claude Debussy composed Fantaisie for piano and orchestra (1889-90), which is his only composition in this genre. Although it follows the traditional movement division, fast-slow-fast, it was never intended as a piano concerto. The piece is not cast like a typical 19th century concerto with the expected interaction back and forth between soloist and orchestra, but is rather characterized by the soloist being well integrated into the orchestral structure. The work Fantaisie was written while Debussy was still searching for his musical language. He was dissatisfied with, among other things, the orchestration, to the point that after the last rehearsal before the premiere, without a word of explanation, he stole the orchestral material. He reworked the score several times, but despite this set up a ban on playing or publishing the work during his lifetime, which he never lifted. Whatever the reason, Fantaisie is one of Debussy's most expressive works, already characterized by the inventiveness, orchestral coloring and fluid musical style that would later become his signature. The first movement (Andante ma non troppo) has a slow opening where the solo oboe, together with the other woodwind instruments, plays the main theme of the movement. The melody is based on a so-called madenda scale, a pentatonic scale whose notes (E, Fs, G, H, C) are related to the western key of G major. The exoticism of the theme permeates the movement, and also the work as a whole. The second movement (Lento e molto espressivo) is characterized by Debussy's effective compression of several musical, chromatic themes that follow one another naturally. Without interruption follows the final movement (Allegro molto), in which he uses a peculiar technique derived from one of his teachers at the Paris Conservatoire, César Franck. To tie the work together, he reintroduces themes from the previous movements, thus creating a cyclical progression as a conclusion. ANDREAS KONVICKA

Intermission 25 min

Edward Elgar (1857 – 1934) Variations on an Original Theme (Enigma) The word enigma (riddle) says something about one of English music's most notorious orchestral suites. Part of the puzzle can be found in the subtitles of the different variation sets (14 in number) where name initials are preferably written. These recall various people who had a tangible impact on Elgar. From his wife, a musician, to close friends. Not infrequently their names form the melodic and even rhythmic variations which the original theme undergoes, but more clearly they are found in the temperament of the movements and sonorous execution of the characteristic of his friends. In everything from almost didactic interpretations, such as the sixth movement's play with string changes, which recalls one of his viola adepts' struggle with this very thing, or as in the most beloved ninth movement ("Nimrod"), where the conversations with Elgar's publisher shine through through the numerous musical references to Beethoven. The second riddle of the Enigma Variations remains unsolved to this day. It is said that there is a red thread hidden through the variations, identified by some as a melody, by others as an element of form, but we probably do best not to look too closely, but to do as Elgar emphasized already at the premiere: "but the work can be listened to to as a 'piece of music' free of any extra-musical references.” It is in the sound that the music has survived the centuries, the enigma is probably ultimately woven into a creative process that has long since ended. ESAIAS JÄRNEGARD

Participants

The Gothenburg Symphony, called "one of the world's most formidable orchestras" by the Guardian, has toured the USA, Europe, Japan and the Far East and performed at major music centres and festivals throughout the world. Chief conductor is Santtu-Matias Rouvali who started his tenure in 2017. Barbara Hannigan and Christoph Eschenbach are principal guest conductors since 2019. Already at the orchestra's very first years, the great Swedish composer Wilhelm Stenhammar was appointed principal conductor, contributing strongly to the Nordic profile of the orchestra by inviting his colleagues Carl Nielsen and Jean Sibelius to conduct their own works. Subsequent holders of the post include Sergiu Comissiona, Sixten Ehrling and Charles Dutoit. During Neeme Järvi's tenure (1982-2004), the orchestra became a major international force. In 1997 it was appointed the National Orchestra of Sweden. During his celebrated tenure as music director (2007-2012), Gustavo Dudamel took the Orchestra to major music centres and festivals in Europe, making acclaimed appearances at BBC Proms and Vienna Musikverein. The list of prominent guest conductors has included Wilhelm Furtwängler, Pierre Monteux, Herbert von Karajan, Myung-Whun Chung, Herbert Blomstedt and Sir Simon Rattle. The orchestra also runs extensive concert projects for children, and regularly releases digital live concerts free on gsoplay.se. The orchestra has been involved in many prestigious recording projects, the latest one the complete Sibelius Symphonies with Santtu-Matias Rouvali for Alpha Classics. Earlier, the orchestra has issued over 100 recordings on BIS, Deutsche Grammophon, Chandos, Farao Classics and several other labels. The Gothenburg Symphony is owned by the Region Västra Götaland.

Magnus Fryklund conductor

The New York Times has called Leif Ove Andsnes "a pianist of magnificent elegance, strength and insight". With his phenomenal technique and profound interpretations, Leif Ove Andsnes has won appreciation throughout the world. In 2019-2020 he was Artist in Residence at the Gothenburg Symphony. Leif Ove Andsnes gave his first concert with the Gothenburg Symphony as early as 1989, and has done around ten concerts with the orchestra since then, including a tour to Las Palmas and Tenerife. Leif Ove Andsnes gives solo evenings every season and appears as a soloist in the world's leading concert halls with the leading orchestras. In 2017-2018 he was Artist in Residence at the New York Philharmonic. He is also a diligent chamber musician and founder of Rosendal's chamber music festival. For nearly two decades he shared the artistic leadership of the chamber music festival in Risør and in 2012 was the artistic director of the Ojai Festival in California. He was awarded an honorary doctorate at Juilliard in New York in 2016 and at the University of Bergen in 2017. Leif Ove Andsnes has made over 30 disc recordings, including solo piano by Chopin, "Ballades & Nocturnes" (Sony Classics). The edition of Beethoven's five piano concertos has been praised by the critics. He is above all known as a master of Grieg and his recording of Grieg's piano concerto with the Berliner Philharmoniker (2003) is considered one of the best of all time. In autumn 2022, Andsnes has, among other things, toured Europe with a program consisting of Janácek's only piano sonata, Lamento by Alexander Vustin and Beethoven's penultimate piano sonata, Op. 110.

Questions? Contact the ticket office