Nielsen 3 & Tetzlaff plays Sibelius
Antonín Dvořák, In Nature’s Realm, Op. 91, B. 168
Jean Sibelius, Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47
Carl Nielsen, Symphony No. 3, Op. 27, FS 60, “Sinfonia Espansiva”
In Nature’s Realm, a concert overture by Antonín Dvořák, sounds like a landscape painting of the peaceful forests surrounding the Czech composer’s home village. The counterpoint at the end of this work is an ode to Johann Sebastian Bach.
Things get even more idyllic in Finnish composer Jean Sibelius’ Violin Concerto. Obsessed with Finnish sagas, lakes and forests, Sibelius combines a late-Romantic style with modern Nordic sound aesthetics in this work. The melody with which the violin opens the concerto seems familiar, accompanied by gently pulsing strings. After a very romantic and incredibly lyrical second movement comes a frankly ecstatic final movement that demands a great deal of virtuosity from the soloist and was described by Sibelius as a ‘danse macabre’. German violinist Christian Tetzlaff, who made his mark at Bozar in June 2021 with a phenomenal interpretation of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, is the dream soloist for Sibelius’ most famous work.
Associate conductor Michael Schønwandt has been an ambassador of Danish composer Carl Nielsen for many years, with celebrated recordings of all his symphonies and all his concertos. In this concert with the Belgian National Orchestra, he performs the Third Symphony: the work with which Carl Nielsen made his national and international breakthrough in 1912. The second movement of this symphony, with wordless solos for soprano and baritone, depicts the peaceful, paradisiacal atmosphere of nature before the Fall. After this pastoral andante, the French horns announce a rhythmic scherzo oscillating between major and minor modes, with shining roles for the woodwinds. The fourth and final movement, “a hymn to work and to the healthy activity of daily life” (Carl Nielsen), starts with a folk-like hymn theme and reaches a grandiose climax with broadly extended counterpoint. The shadows and despair that characterise Carl Nielsen’s later symphonies are nowhere to be seen in the pre-war Third Symphony.
Michael Schønwandt, conductor
Christian Tetzlaff, violin
Ecem Topçu, soprano
Marcus Dawson, baritone
Turkish soprano Ecem Topcu made her professional debut in 2018 as Arsena in Der Zigeunerbaron and in 2019 as Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro at Samsun State Opera
Marcus is an Australian born baritone currently in his first year at The Royal Danish Opera Academy studying a masters of opera.