Javier Perianes / fot. Josep Molina
Orchestral concerts
Pictures at an Exhibition
10.11.2017
Fri.
7:00 PM
NFM, Main Hall
Programme:

G. Fauré Pelléas et Mélisande  Op. 80
C. Saint-Saëns Piano Concerto No. 5 in F major Op. 103
***
M. Mussorgsky / M. Ravel Pictures at an Exhibition

Performers:

Michał Nesterowicz – conductor
Javier Perianes – piano
NFM Wrocław Philharmonic

Venue:
NFM, Main Hall
plac Wolności 1, 50-071 Wrocław
Tickets:
from 10 to 60 zł

Michal Nesterowicz is a Polish conductor, born in Wroclaw on 9th February 1974. He studied at the Academy of Music in Wrocław and graduated with honours from the conducting class of Marek Pijarowski in 1997. Two years later he was among the winners of the 6th Grzegorz Fitelberg International Conducting Competition in Katowice. In 2004, he was appointed Artistic Director of Polish Baltic Philharmonic Orchestra in Gdańsk. In 2008 Nesterowicz won First Prize at the 9th Conducting Competition of Cadaques in Spain and was promptly appointed Principal Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra in Chile. He is currently serving as the Principle Guest Conductor of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife in the Canary Islands of Spain, where he formally served as Artistic Director.

Javier Perianes was born in Huelva, Spain, in 1978. He completed his piano studies in the conservatories of Huelva, Seville and Madrid. Later he continued his training with Josep Colom. He has received master classes from renowned pianists such as Richard Goode, Alicia de Larrocha and Daniel Barenboim. He holds piano prizes from several competitions, including the 42nd International Competition Premio Jaén de Piano, the 8th International Piano Competition Fundación Jacinto e Inocencio Guerrero, and the 14th International Competition Vianna da Motta in Lisbon. He collaborates regularly with major orchestras and orchestra directors. In 2012, he recorded a live album of music by Falla with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the conductor Josep Pons, which was nominated for a Latin Grammy award and he personally received the National Music Award.

Gabriel Fauré composed incidental music for Pelleas and Melisande in the Spring of 1898 and conducted the premiere at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London on June 21. Years later, he conceived the suite performed tonight. It received its first performance on December 1, 1912, in Paris. Fauré initially selected three pieces from the seventeen that he originally composed. Prélude, Fileuse, and Mort de Mélisande. A few years later, he drew from an unfinished score of La bourgeois gentilhomme and added the selection, Mélisande’s Song, to complete the work. As Fauré detested orchestration and often passed the work to his assistants, it is significant that he did orchestrate, the Pelléas and Mélisande Suite himself.

The drama, by the Belgian poet and playwright, Maurice Maeterlinck, is a cherished product of the Symbolist movement. It was first performed in Paris in 1893 and was soon translated into English for performances in London. Fauré was not the first choice of actress Mrs. Patrick Campbell, who was financing the English production. She first sought Claude Debussy, who refused because he was nearly finished writing an opera based on the same drama.

Pelleas and Melisande is a tale of doomed love and a reflection on the disreputable love triangle. The tale revolves around Mélisande, who is found wandering in a forest by Prince Golaud. Golaud rescues and marries Mélisande, but at his castle she and Golaud's step-brother, Pelléas, fall in love. Jealous, Golaud kills his brother and Mélisande dies in childbirth leaving the remorseful Golaud too late to forgive. Maeterlinck’s work cast a spell on many composers. Schoenberg, whose first major work for orchestra was a tone poem inspired by the play, praised Maeterlinck for 'his art of dramatising eternal problems of humanity in the form of fairy-tales, lending them timelessness without adhering to imitation of ancient styles.'

Camille Saint-Saëns composed his Fifth Piano Concerto while in Egypt in the winter of 1895 and 1896. The piece was to be premiered on May 6, at a Jubilee Concert in celebration the fiftieth anniversary of the composers début at the Salle Pleyel. Saint-Saëns was the soloist in the premieres of all five of his works for piano and orchestra. Nonetheless, the piece was dedicated to pianist Louis Diémer, who performed it on several occasions.

Inspired by one of his journeys in northern Africa in 1896, the apparent Near East exoticism lends to the nickname 'Egyptian.' The Concerto is a typical example of Saint-Saëns classical compositional style. Though he was a keen traveller and observer, he never lost his uniquely Parisian wit, nor allowed the foreign musical features, he heard in his wandering, to break his crystal-clear musical structures. The composer once wrote, 'The artist who does not feel completely satisfied by elegant lines, by harmonious colours, and by a beautiful succession of chords does not understand the art of music.'

Modest Mussorgsky composed Pictures at an Exhibition, as a set of piano pieces, in June 1874. Maurice Ravel made his orchestral transcription in the summer of 1922 for Serge Koussevitzky, who conducted the first performance on October 22, at the Paris Opera. The original piano composition was written 'in remembrance of Viktor Hartmann', an architect and artist who happened to be a personal friend of Mussorgsky’s. Following the sudden death of the artist, critic Vladimir Stassov had organised a memorial exhibition in the Academy of Fine Arts in St Petersburg. The exhibition featured 400 of Hartmann’s drawings, costumes, architectural designs, sketches for ornamental house objects and watercolours. Less than two months after the exhibition, Mussorgsky completed his own musical tour of the scene. The composer had chosen eleven of Hartmann’s works for his set of piano pieces. He wrote to Vladimir Stassov, 'My dear generalissimie, Hartmann is seething as Boris [Godunov] seethed… sounds and ideas hand in my head and I can barely manage to scribble them on paper… The transitions are good on the Promenade… I want to work more quickly and reliably… so far, I think it is well tuned.'

There is no record of Pictures being performed during Mussorgsky’s lifetime. The composer didn’t even play the work on his extensive 1879 concert tour. It is thought that he found it too personal for the stage. Thus it was left to Rimsky-Korsakov, the musical executor of Mussorgsky’s estate, to edit the manuscript and bring it to the light. The earliest orchestration was realised by a student of Rimsky-Korsakov, Mikhail Tushmalov. Followed in 1915, by a version from Sir Henry Wood. Then Maurice Ravel unveiled his orchestration in 1922. It was the vivid pictorialization and textural variety of the piece that had caught the ear of Serge Koussevitzky, and he commissioned Ravel to create an orchestral version. Ravel’s orchestration far outshines the earlier two in the brilliance of its colours and ingenuity, while remaining as faithful as possible to the original. Only in the finale, the Great Gate of Kiev, did Ravel add notes of his own. 

 

Alixandra Porembski, English Language Annotator

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