Belgian National Orchestra & La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra – Glière 3

Sat 22.04.23 20:00
€46 - 38 - 24 - 10

Reinhold Glière, Symphony No. 3 in B minor “Ilya Muromets”, Op. 42

Reinhold Glière’s Symphony No. 3 is seldom performed: the vast instrumentation, the length and the technical difficulty make each performance a real challenge. To perform this phenomenal composition, a monument of Slavic culture, in Bozar, the Belgian National Orchestra is working with the La Monnaie Orchestra under Alain Altinoglu.

Reinhold Glière was a Russian composer of German-Polish origin who spent some time as director of the conservatory in his native Kiev (then part of the Russian Empire) and taught composition at the Moscow Conservatory as from 1920. His pupils included Myaskovsky and Prokofiev. During the Soviet regime, he held various public offices and was awarded the Stalin Prize no fewer than three times. However, Reinhold Glière wrote his monumental Symphony No. 3, dedicated to the composer Alexander Glazunov, in Kiev, a few years before the First World War. It is a four-movement programmatic work describing the life of the war hero Ilya Muromez, a bogatyr or epic hero of the medieval Principality of Kyiv who fought evil but was eventually turned to stone himself.

The first movement, ‘Wandering Pilgrims: Ilya Muromets and Svyatogor’ depicts how the main character decides, at the age of 33, to make something of his life after an encounter with a couple of pilgrims. As a result of the death of the giant Svyatogor, he soon acquires unprecedented powers. In the second movement, Ilya Muromets disposes of the robber Solovei, whom he drags into Prince Vladimir’s palace, where he decapitates him in spectacular fashion during a great feast. In the fourth and final movement, Ilya Muromets first fights the pagan Tartars and is then defeated by two magical horsemen. An adventurous, fairy-tale journey of Mahlerian length with impressionistic timbre that leaves no one unmoved!

Alain Altinoglu, conductor