Conductor: Stijn Berkouwer
Solist: Yang Yang Cai
During our winter concerts, listeners take a journey through different countries and times. Despite the major differences in style, the pieces of music played have one important element in common: cultural identity.
This concert will start with the Piano Concerto in A minor by Edvard Grieg. The Norwegian Edvard Grieg was only 25 years old when he composed this piece, but it is nevertheless one of his best-known works. Influences from Norwegian folk melodies are clearly audible, for example, in the third movement similarities can be heard with a halling (folk dance) and imitations of a Hardanger fiddle. It promises to be an impressive performance with the twenty-four-year-old soloist Yang Yang Cai, with whom we came into contact because Krashna was elected the “most fun student orchestra of The Netherlands” in an election initiated by Avrotros.
In the Soviet Union it was not easy for composers to express themselves artistically. When Shostakovich released the opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, Stalin saw this as 'corruption to the spirit of the Soviet Union'. Fearing the prison camps, Shostakovich quickly composed his fifth symphony. This piece full of elements from Russian folk music was immediately appreciated. Nevertheless, the third part can be seen as a secret criticism of the horrors of the regime through the many laments. During the first performance there was a lot of crying from the audience, which was 'unthinkable' for Soviet music.
If you ask around in the Netherlands about Czech composers, you will often hear Antonín Dvořák or Bedřich Smetana - think, for example, of the New World Symphony or the symphonic poem 'the Vltava'. However, Krashna Musika wants to distinguish itself by also playing unknown gems that have not been performed often; the Scherzo Fantastique is one of them. This piece of music is full of dynamics, filled with Czech folk dances that are quickly alternated between the orchestral groups. It was an important piece for Josef Suk to break through as a successful composer at a young age.
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