FÊTE DE LA MUSIQUE
György Ligeti, Concert Românesc
Piet Swerts, Sehnsucht - Fünf Stimmungsbilder nach Marie-Jo Lafontaine for cello and orchestra (World Premiere)
Ludwig van Beethoven, Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67
The Hungarian composer György Ligeti, like his compatriots Bartók and Kodály, was particularly interested in Romanian folk music. Around 1950, he studied at the Institute of Folklore in Bucharest and participated in several trips to record Romanian and Hungarian folk music. Ligeti composed the Romanian Concerto on the basis of some of the folk melodies thus collected. Although this early composition, consisting of four short movements, betrays little of Ligeti's later modernist style (and tends more towards the music of Bartók), some dissonant sounds provoked the authorities to such an extent that the Romanian Concerto was banned after just one rehearsal.
Piet Swerts, from Tongeren, is one of Belgium's best-known composers. Among other things, he wrote the compulsory work of the 1993 Queen Elisabeth Competition: the violin concerto Zodiac. This concert will premiere his cello concerto Sehnsucht, composed in 2021. Five photographs by Belgian visual artist, photographer and video artist Marie-Jo Lafontaine inspired this new composition, which will be performed by Chinese cellist Yibai Chen (Second Prize Queen Elisabeth Competition 2022).
Beethoven's Fifth Symphony is arguably the most famous work in the history of classical music. The powerfully rhythmic opening motif - three short notes, one long - was once described by Beethoven as 'fate knocking at the door'. Unlike the ancient Greeks, fate was no longer a force to be blindly submitted to during the Age of Enlightenment. In four movements, Beethoven makes his way from darkness (opening movement in C minor) to the light (final movement in C major). "Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed nonage" said the German philosopher Immanuel Kant. The grim blows of destiny in the first movement undergo various variations before returning in the finale in a triumphant march towards the light.
Joshua Weilerstein, conductor
Yibai Chen, cello
© Photo by Paul Marc Mitchell
Weilerstein conducts widely across Europe.