Hugh Wolff & Kit Armstrong (piano)
Olivier Messiaen, Oiseaux exotiques
Ludwig van Beethoven, Concerto for piano and orchestra No. 3 in c minor, op. 37
Maurice Ravel, Une barque sur l'océan
Jean Sibelius, Symphony No. 5 in E-flat major, op. 82
Re: Beethoven - Natural Wonders (in response to Beethoven's Sixth Symphony, "Pastoral")
Above the bucolic landscape that Beethoven brings to life in his Sixth symphony (1802-08), birds flutter and chirp happily in the blue sky. The Pastoral reverberates in a programme full of natural wonders.
Oiseaux Exotiques (1955/56) opens with the strident shriek of the Indian mynah, segueing into glorious birdsong, with the composer including the songs of 38 species from around the world. Olivier Messiaen believed birdsong symbolized the presence of God in creation.
“Oh God, how beautiful! One of the greatest experiences of my life”, Sibelius wrote after having seen sixteen swans take flight one early April morning. The composer was so stirred by the beauty of nature that he incorporated a “swan theme” in the mighty apotheosis of his Symphony No. 5.
The water shimmers in the sun and the sail gently flaps in the wind. Une barque sur l’océan is the third movement of Maurice Ravel’s solo suite for piano, called Miroirs (1904/5).
After moving from Bonn to Vienna, Ludwig van Beethoven – who was just twenty-six years old at the time – needed a composition to establish himself as a young virtuoso. With his Piano Concerto no. 2 (1795), he succeeded in fulfilling audience expectations. Tonight Kit Armstrong - a composer, a pianist, a prodigy, Alfred Brendel’s protégé and only twenty-five years old – will dazzle you with his virtuosity and flawless technique.
Copresentation: La Monnaie as part of Beethoven cycle.
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Born in Paris to American parents, Wolff spent his early years in London and Washington DC.
Kit Armstrong is a prolific pianist, composer and curator.