Prokofiev & Leif Ove Andsnes plays Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven, Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73, “Emperor”
Wim Henderickx, Rejoice! (Hymn for New Times) (world premiere)
Sergei Prokofiev, War and Peace: Symphonic Suite (arr. by Christopher Palmer)
Since Norwegian star pianist Leif Ove Andsnes recorded all Beethoven's piano concertos for the well-known Sony Classics label some ten years ago (The Beethoven Journey), he has been considered an absolute Beethoven authority. During the opening concert, he will play the fifth, last and perhaps most impressive of the German composer’s concertos. The socalled ‘Emperor concerto’ differs from Beethoven's other piano concertos by its phenomenal length, its heroic tone and the fact that the piano part is written out in great detail. Beethoven composed this work – which he was never able to perform himself due to his increasing deafness – amid "the drum roll, cannon roar and human suffering" caused by the French when they besieged Vienna under Napoleon's leadership in 1809.
After the intermission, the Belgian National Orchestra's opening concert will continue with an ode to Wim Henderickx, who recently passed away. He would normally have been this season's composer-in-residence. Rejoice! (Hymn for New Times) is the first of several works that the Belgian National Orchestra commissioned from him.
When the Germans unexpectedly attacked the Soviet Union in 1941, Sergei Prokofiev recalled his plan to one day compose an opera based on War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy’s magnus opus. The historical background of this book is Napoleon’s campaign in Russia. In a couple of months, Prokofiev wrote a monumental work divided in 13 scenes, which he had to rewrite several times because of objections from the Soviet government. He himself never experienced a full performance of the four-hour-long opera, which features no fewer than 72 characters. The symphonic suite that will be heard during the opening concert was arranged by Christopher Palmer in 1988.
Antony Hermus, conductor
Leif Ove Andsnes, piano
Antony Hermus was recently appointed Chief Conductor of the Belgian National Orchestra, starting an initial four-year term in September 2022 with a Designate year.
Leif Ove Andsnes
The New York Times calls Leif Ove Andsnes “a pianist of magisterial elegance, power, and insight,” and the Wall Street Journal names him “one of the most gifted musicians of his generation.” With h