This May night at the Oratorium Marianum, the NFM Leopoldinum Orchestra will perform with a family duo. The orchestra will be conducted by Joseph Swensen, and his son Jonathan Swensen, one of the promising cellists of the young generation, will perform the soloist parts in works by Penderecki and Haydn.
The Simple Symphony op. 4 by Benjamin Britten will open the night. The cheerful, four-movement composition was written based on small pieces that were the result of the artist's first attempts at composing – he wrote them when he was 9. The idea for a kind of return to the period of childhood came to Britten's mind during his studies at the Royal College of Music. In this way, a very personal work was created for a chamber orchestra, which for the first time was performed in 1934 by a team of amateurs under the direction of Britten himself. The title given to the composition perfectly reflects its character full of energy and cheerfulness. Each of the movements of this small-sized piece uses as a starting point catchy melody from two children's miniatures by Britten. There are many references to Baroque music or folklore of the British Isles. The light character of the work is also emphasized by the titles given to each of its movements: Boisterous Bourrée, Playful Pizzicato, Sentimental Sarabande and Frolicsome Finale.
Joseph Swensen, Music director of the NFM Leopoldinum, is both a conductor and composer. The programme features his Sinfonietta. The second part of the concert will be devoted to cello music. The soloist will be Jonathan Swensen – a young instrumentalist with many virtuoso successes to his credit, studying at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo. Jonathan will present two contrasting aspects of cello repertoire. One of them will be Krzysztof Penderecki's Per Slava. This work was created in 1986 on commission from the Concours de violoncelle Rostropovich. Penderecki dedicated the work to the patron of the competition, the legendary cellist Mstislav Rostropovich. In the finale of the evening, we will return to Classical sounds thanks to Joseph Haydn's Cello Concerto in C major, and there will be reference to the work of the author of the Simple Symphony. It was Britten who created the virtuoso cadences that Jonathan Swensen will perform during the Concerto, very demanding and perfectly in line with Haydn’s score.