Göteborgs Konserthus Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with María Dueñas

Event has already taken place. Rhythmic energy with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste and violinist María Dueñas.

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

Event has already taken place

With its romantic, passionate themes and hortatory rhythmic energy, Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto leaves no audience unmoved. The same can be said of Nielsen’s Symphony No. 5, which is also on the programme for this concert. At its premiere, which caused quite a scandal, it was compared with the sounds from a cattle market, but today it has become a symphonic classic.

Tchaikovsky’s renowned Violin Concerto also met resistance to begin with. A violinist of the time thought it was unplayable, and a famous critic deemed it to be vulgar and brutal. Thankfully the field of music criticism has come a long way since then! With its intimately intense themes, rhythmic energy and captivating orchestral movement, Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto is in fact an indispensable part of the Western canon of music as an art form. He composed his works at a time when his right to live honestly and love the one he wanted was so questioned that he tried to take his own life. Music, and this work in particular, was Tchaikovsky’s way of dealing with an inner struggle, and a reality that limited his freedom. The soloist is the young rising star María Dueñas.

This evening the audience is also treated to Drifts by the Finnish composer Sebastian Fagerlund, featuring music with a richness of sound, rapid flows and high intensity.


Get to know the classic pieces.

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!


Sebastian Fagerlund (f 1972) Drifts The Finnish composer Sebastian Fagerlund already made a name for himself at the turn of the millennium, but his real breakthrough and stylistic outburst came with the clarinet concerto in 2005-2006. He has since composed concertos for violin, guitar and bassoon, the last of which was nominated for the Nordic Council's music prize. His first opera was the chamber opera Döbeln (2009), which connected to the war of 1808–1809 between Russia and Sweden (to which Finland then belonged). The opera Höstsonaten, based on Ingmar Bergman's feature film, premiered at the Finnish National Opera in 2017. Drifts from 2017 is the middle section of an orchestral triptych. Fagerlund already had in mind to compose a three-part ensemble when he composed his previous orchestral work, Stonework (2014–2015). Fagerlund intended to make Drifts a mainly slow movement. And as such it begins, labeled Largo misterioso. But like so many composers, Fagerlund found it difficult to stick to an overly detailed plan and the musical material began to take on a will of its own. After its sluggish start, Drifts picks up speed in a sprightlier Energico. These two basic tempos dominate the piece, but even though the fast material has begun to push forward, so to speak, the feeling of slow music still permeates through the fact that the two tempo zones can overlap or be superimposed on each other. The piece was commissioned by the Finnish Radio Symphony, Gothenburg Symphony and Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia. The premiere took place in May 2017 in Helsinki and was conducted by Hannu Lintu.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840–1893) Violin Concerto Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D major was composed in 1878 during a stay at a spa on Lake Geneva in an attempt by the composer to come to terms with a depression that had long crippled his writing. It is the Russian romantic's only violin concerto, yet it is one of the most well-known and beloved in the Western classical repertoire. It is easy to listen to and has a pleasant sound without, for that matter, falling into the predictable. Tchaikovsky was greatly influenced by the German romantic school, which advocated the beauty of music over a strictly formalized composition procedure, which is evident in his letter correspondence from the same period. The fact that it was a violin concert instead of, say, a symphony, was due to a dear visit by a certain Iosif Kotek, Tchaikovsky's composition student as well as violinist. The two were very close and the young man's mere presence at the Swiss spa helped Tchaikovsky out of his lock-up and inspired the well-known notes we know as the Violin Concerto. The concerto opens with an almost 20 minute long, dynamic and ever-changing Allegro moderato where the famous main theme is exposed, followed by a much shorter and wistfully sweet wind movement that is as fine-tuned as it is languid to end with a ten-minute dramatic finale which elegantly ties the piece together thematic flora.

Intermission 25 min

CARL NIELSEN (1865-1931) SYMPHONY No. 5 OP 50 Tempo giusto. Adagio non troppo Allegro. Andante un poco tranquillo In 1921-1922, Carl Nielsen wrote simultaneously on two works that have come to stand as opposite poles in his creation. This applies to the sunny folk pastoral Fynsk foraar (Spring at Funen) and the grand drama Symphony No. 5. The symphony has two large movements that have no thematic connection, but which are nevertheless connected in terms of ideas. The music begins with the violas swinging forward on Nielsen's so often used minor third C-A and eventually takes shape in a theme. The music climbs upwards and a new theme grows towards the light. When the music reaches even higher, we have arrived at the destructive little drum, which in the score is ordered to improvise everything it can to stop the music's further progress, while the clarinet complains that the victory cost so much suffering. It is hard to imagine that the horrors of the First World War did not contribute to thought content. According to the composer's statement, the music wanted to depict "the dormant forces in opposition to the active ones". This violent movement with many moving episodes is followed by a lovely allegro. What survived the disaster is now rising from the ashes. But the reconstruction is not painless. New energy is charged up, among other things in the form of two fugues, the last of which leads the symphony to a highly vital conclusion. The premiere took place on 24 January 1922 and the sheet music had been end-dated nine days before. The audience was moved and the critics stated that the 56-year-old Nielsen was at the forefront of the young people. But unconventional honesty is not always appreciated. When the symphony was presented in Stockholm a few years later, the audience trooped off in large crowds and it was thoroughly reviled by several critics, who found the music insane. "You don't know if it's supposed to depict market bustle or a hen house in hell, but the composer succeeds in luring away the orchestra, which works with contempt for death, with a hideous mishap," one critic wrote. But there were also those who saw the greatness: "In contrast to the previous program numbers, this fifth symphony stands at the focal point of what is happening, fermenting and moving in the music of our day. Carl Nielsen shows here an ability to ruthlessly and consistently create a style whose scope and meaning penetrate far beyond national borders, this art form becomes a contribution to European music development...” Actually, the criticism didn't stop until a real authority declared his love for the music. It was Leonard Bernstein who, when he made a ground-breaking disc recording of the symphony, drew parallels between Nielsen's fifth and Shakespeare's drama about the Danish prince Hamlet. Yes, there we have Denmark's two most significant contributions to the cultural world market. In any event, this is music that will not leave many unmoved.


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.

Jukka-Pekka Saraste is one of the most prominent conductors of our time with deep insights into both romantic orchestral works and contemporary music by composers such as Dutilleux, Lindberg and Saariaho. In the spring of 2022, Jukka-Pekka was appointed chief conductor and artistic director of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, starting in the summer of 2023. Saraste has been chief conductor of the WDR Orchestra in Cologne (2010-2019), the Oslo Philharmonic (2006-2013), the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (1994-2001) and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra (1987-2001). Among his many acclaimed disc recordings are all of Sibelius and Nielsen's symphonies with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra as well as Mahler's fifth and ninth symphonies with the WDR orchestra. With the latter, he has also recorded all of Brahms and Beethoven's symphonies. In recent years, Jukka-Pekka Saraste has developed a strong profile in opera. After concert performances of Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex, Schönberg's Erwartung and Bartók's Duke Bluebeard’s Castle, he has had great success at the Theater an der Wien with a new stage production of Mendelssohn's Elijah, directed by Calixto Bieito, and Korngold's Die tote Stadt at the Finnish National Opera. In the 2020-2021 season he conducted a new staging of Reimann's Lear at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich which will resume in January 2023. Saraste has made a number of appearances with the Gothenburg Symphony over the years. On his last visit in October 2021, he conducted B Tommy Andersson's new organ concerto Poseidon.

At only 19 years of age, Spanish violinist María Dueñas has quickly established herself as one of the most sought-after artists of her generation. Since winning the 2021 International Yehudi Menuhin Competition, as well as the Audience Award, she has been in demand worldwide. In the following year, she made her debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Staatskapelle Berlin, Dresdner Philharmonie, Mozarteumorchester Salzburg, Danmarks Radios Symphony Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and NHK Symphony Orchestra. She is also appointed BBC New Generation Artist 2021-2023. Dueñas has already performed with, among others, the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra and the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra under conductors such as Gustavo Dudamel, Marek Janowski, Manfred Honeck, Vladimir Spivakov, Vassily Sinaisky, Gustavo Gimeno and Michael Sanderling. Recently, she was awarded the Grand Prix in the Viktor Tretyakov Competition, the First Prize in the Getting to Carnegie Competition, the Vladimir Spivakov International Competition, the Zhuhai Mozart International Competition and the Yankelevitch Prize, to name a few. María Dueñas was born in Granada in 2002 and studies with Professor Boris Kuschnir at the Music and Arts Private University of Vienna and the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Austria. María Dueñas plays on a Niccolò Gagliano violin on loan from the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben and on a 1736 Guarneri del Gesù “Muntz” on generous loan from the Nippon Music Foundation. Additionally, as the winner of the 2021 Yehudi Menuhin Competition, she has a two-year loan of a Stradivarius violin from Jonathan Mould's private collection.

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