Robert Gerhard: Alegrías. Suite (1942) 13’
Dmitri Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major, Op. 107 (1959) 30’
Carl Nielsen: Symphony No. 4 “The Inextinguishable”, Op. 29 (1914-1916) 36’
This concert will also be performed from 28 to 30 October at the Auditorio Nacional de Música in Madrid
Barcelona Symphony Orchestra (OBC)
Narek Hakhnazaryan, cello
Juanjo Mena, conductor
All the ambiguity, drama and irony of Shostakovich’s music. All the ambiguity, drama and irony of Dmitri Shostakovich’s music is deployed in masterly fashion in his Cello Concerto No. 1. An emotionally charged work requiring a high degree of technical skill on the part of the soloist, it was written for Mstislav Rostropovich, who premiered it in Leningrad in 1959. The Russian composer used a small orchestra to create compelling interplay between the cello and the orchestra, where the horn particularly stands out.
Alegrías is a symphonic suite based on themes from Flamenco, a ballet with which Robert Gerhard was commissioned by the Rambert Dance Company in 1941; a factor that would condition the composer’s work, calling for clichéd images of Spain that would be understood in London. Despite these limitations and the hardships of his exile, he created a brilliant, avant-garde symphonic pastiche. The eloquent, satirical musical quotes in the final jaleo–the Riego Anthem and Chopin’s Funeral March for the bull–give it a strong ironic, critical flavour.
Carl Nielsen embarked on a new creative stage with his Symphony No. 4, the most highly praised of his symphonies and a celebration of life, premiered halfway through the First World War.