This weekend the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra (OBC) and the Spanish National Orchestra (ONE) will carry out the the exchange that had to be postponed due to the pandemic. The OBC will be at Madrid’s National Music Auditorium and the ONE will visit L’Auditori, the orchestras’ respective headquarters, on 28, 29 and 30 October. This exchange will strengthen the link between Spain’s two leading orchestras.
The National Orchestra will visit L’Auditori, accompanied by its chief conductor, David Afkham, and the pianist Seong-Jin Cho. They will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 12.
Shostakovich will also have a strong presence in the OBC’s programme in Madrid, where the cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan will perform Cello Concerto No. 1. The programme, which will feature acclaimed guest conductor Juanjo Mena, will conclude with the Alegrías suite by Robert Gerhard and Symphony No. 4 by Nielsen. This programme will be repeated at L’Auditori the following weekend.
ONE and OBC programmes
Piano Concerto No. 3 by Ludwig van Beethoven opens one of those wounds in the history of musical genres that never closes, one that has a decisive impact on the future. The culmination of his early stage as a composer, it is a highly personal work, heralding the direction that his forthcoming work would take. It begins in ground-breaking, dynamic style, with high virtuoso skill, before giving way to a largo: an intimate passage of lyric beauty that contrasts with the final rondo. A work that was regarded as an extravagance by 1803 Vienna audiences, it offers the keys to understanding everything that would happen afterwards in music for piano and orchestra.
Symphony No. 12 by Shostakovich is very much a programme symphony, closely linked to Symphony No. 11, and it bears a subtitle (“The Year 1917”) and a dedication (“In memory of Vladimir Lenin”) that leave no room for ambiguity. So strong is its narrative that it is almost a symphonic comment on the overthrow of the Russian monarchy, and through the resources deployed by the orchestra, specific scenes from the Russian Revolution are painted. With its literal musical quotes and allusions, it bears witness to the 20th century and to Soviet musical legacies.
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.
27 October 2022
Exchange initiative postponed due to pandemic takes place this weekend between the OBC and the ONE
The OBC will perform at the National Music Auditorium of Madrid and the ONE will perform at L’Auditori.
Juanjo Mena will conduct the Catalan ensemble accompanied by the cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan as soloist.
The Spanish National Orchestra will be visiting L’Auditori with its chief conductor, David Afkham, and the pianist Seong-Jin Cho.