Oslo, Konserthuset Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra in Oslo Concert Hall

Event has already taken place. Enchanting worlds with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali and violinist Valeriy Sokolov.

Concert length: 2 h 20 min incl. intermission

Event has already taken place

This night Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra plays in Oslo Concert Hall.

There is something unusual about the music of Sibelius, something you don’t find anywhere else; a sensitivity for the innermost nuances. Just listen to the introductory tones in his Violin Concerto, or the stratospheric flageolets in the finale. He opens the door to unknown worlds, rooms filled with light and horizons that never end, with a masterful handling of the orchestra in which melancholy strings meet strident woodwind instruments. Soloist Valeriy Sokolov is the person who holds the key to these enchanting worlds.

We meet a completely different, emotional and neurotic outlook on life in Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, from the crazy trumpet in the initial funeral procession to storms and joyful dancing, not to mention the renowned adagietto, which passes dangerously close to the cliff of sentimentality. 70 minutes of everything for anyone who just can’t get enough.


Jean Sibelius (1865–1957) Violin Concerto Op 47 The violin concerto was written between the second and third symphonies in the summer of 1903 at the Järnefelt family's farm in Lojo. It was first performed in February 1904 with the composer as conductor and Victor Novácek as soloist. The performance was not a great success and Sibelius found that he was not entirely satisfied with certain sections. He therefore revised the concert in the summer of 1905, and the new premiere was conducted by Richard Strauss himself in Berlin. Over the brooding D minor harmonies of the orchestra, the violin sings a melody that turns out to be the main theme, and it is also taken up by the deep woodwinds before leading to a broad violin cadence. The first movement then develops in a freely treated sonata form, which gives it an almost rhapsodic character. The violin part is brilliant, the music dramatic, the orchestra engaging. This grand movement is also longer than the next two combined. The slow movement begins with a wistful woodwind phrase and it also echoes with the other wind players. Even the violin's song theme is sad and serious. The whole set is characterized by a sublime simplicity. The closing allegro has been called a "polonese for polar bears" and is a rondo with only two themes. The first is presented by the violin and the second by the orchestra. The music is very virtuose and even if the soloist dominates, the orchestral part never becomes uninteresting.

Intermission 25 min

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) Symphony No. 5 in C-sharp minor Trauermarsch. In gemessenem Schritt. Streng. Wie ein Kondukt Stürmisch bewegt. Mit grösster Vehemenz. Scherzo. Kräftig, nicht zu schnell Adagietto. Sehr langsam Rondo-Finale. Allegro. Allegro giocoso. Frisch Let us begin in the middle of Mahler's symphony, in the renowned adagietto. No, it is not the middle in terms of length, as it is preceded by three longer movements and followed by an equally extensive finale. The symphony is also characterised by strict symmetry, with the first two movements placed together as a slow introduction and a quick primary movement, followed by a scherzo (the formal centre of the symphony), and then the adagietto, which leads to the rapid finale. But many listeners still consider the famous movement to be an emotional peak, and there are also links that run both backwards and forwards. Because of course, music can be emotionally charged even if the thematic connections are not clearly heard. Emotions may even develop increasing prominence when the listener is not truly aware of them. The philosopher Theodor W. Adorno, who often has surly comments in his back pocket, writes in his dense book on Mahler that it "borders on genre prettiness through its ingratiating sound". When Luigi Visconti chose this movement as a central musical element in his movie Death in Venice (after the novel by Thomas Mann, but with a composer, rather than a writer, in the tragic lead role), this prettiness turned sickly. The image has such power that it is difficult not to see in the mind's eye when the music stands alone once again. It has been called a "song without words" (after Mendelssohn's piano genre), and Mahler even returns to the Rückert song Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen. This already causes the rigid distinction that is often drawn between the "Wunderhorn symphonies" (no. 2-4, all with material from Mahler's Wunderhorn songs) and the "abstract" fifth symphony to fall apart. In fact, Mahler evidently gave his future wife Alma the movement as a gift of love - instead of a letter. But the road to the adagietto is long. First there is a funeral march with two trios that hardly lighten the dense mood; then comes a passionate burst of anguish, which does however provide unexpected space for light in a chorale. To be sure, this breakthrough has no direct repercussions, because the conclusion returns to a minor key, but the light does prevail later in the symphony. This occurs first in the various swirling dances of the scherzo, in which the sumptuous form includes two trios and an implementation, and then in the third section as well. The adagio is followed by a conclusion that Mahler called a rondo, but which others have tried to interpret as a blend of rondo (in which a principal theme is interrupted by different contrasting episodes) and a sonata form (with the presentation of a theme, development and a reprise). It should be no surprise here if reminiscences from the previous movement appear - although the yearning eroticism has now become a feathery-light affirmation. And that is precisely what this movement is: a "yes" to life. Erik Wallrup


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.

Since 2017, Santtu-Matias Rouvali has been chief conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony. He also has a successful international conducting career and has been hailed by The Guardian as "the latest great talent in the Finnish conducting tradition that you just have to listen to". Santtu-Matias Rouvali is also chief conductor of the Tampere City Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. He has toured with the Gothenburg Symphony and pianist Hélène Grimaud in Nordic capitals as well as with pianist Alice Sara Ott and percussionist Martin Grubinger in Germany. Throughout the season 2022-2023, Santtu-Matias Rouvali continues his relationships with top level orchestras across Europe, including Berliner Philharmoniker, Wiener Symphoniker, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Münichner Philharmoniker, as well as returning to the New York Philharmonic for his annual visits. He works with soloists including Víkingur Ólafsson, Nemanja Radulovic, Yuja Wang, Nicola Benedetti, Behzod Abduraimov, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Alice Sara Ott, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Vadim Gluzman, Randall Goosby, and Vilde Frang.

"His performance of Bartók’s Second Concerto is a revelation. After the opening urgent Hungarian rhythms played with easy flair, the second movement’s hushed intensity takes your breath away, until the thrill and dynamism of the third movement keeps you on the edge of your seat." (Classic FM) Ukrainian Valeriy Sokolov plays regularly with very high-level orchestras, including the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich. Among the conductors he has collaborated with are Vladimir Ashkenazy, David Zinman, Susanna Mälkki, Andris Nelsons and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Among Valeriy Sokolov's many recordings is Enescu's Violin Sonata No. 3 with pianist Svetlana Kosenko. He has recorded the Sibelius Violin Concerto with Vladimir Ashkenazy and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Born in 1986 in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Valeriy Sokolov is one of the leading violinists to emerge from Ukraine in the last twenty years. Valeriy left his homeland at the age of 13 to study with Natalia Boyarskaya at the Yehudi Menuhin School in England. He continued his studies with Felix Andrievsky, Mark Lubotsky, Ana Chumachenko, Gidon Kremer and Boris Kushnir. Valeriy Sokolov has had a violin concerto (2014) and a sonata (2017) written for and dedicated to him by the significant Ukrainian composer Yevhen Stankovich.

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Gothenburg Symphony plays in Oslo
26 May 18.00

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra on tour with chief conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali and violinist Leonidas Kavakos.

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Percussionist vid pukor med stockar i handen, omgiven av röd sammet.

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