The theme of this concert is the multifaceted dialogue of tradition and avant-garde. We will hear the composition by a contemporary artist, eagerly reaching for the heritage of the past, then a work once innovative, and now belonging to the canon, as well as a listener-friendly piece written by one of the composers who once remained at the forefront of the avant-garde.
The Berlin-based composer, conductor and clarinetist Jörg Widmann is one of the most frequently performed contemporary artists. His Con Brio Concert Overture from 2008 was inspired by the Symphonies Nos. 7 and 8 by Ludwig van Beethoven. The composer was interested in rendering in this work the “fury and rhythmic persistence” typical of the Viennese Classicist. In pursuing his goal, Widmann did not go beyond the relatively small line-up typical of the Beethovenian style. The premiere of this work was directed by the Latvian conductor Mariss Jansons, known as a guest-conductor to the Wrocław audience.
Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 begins in an unusual way. While it was customary among composers to open a concert with orchestra, after which the soloist joined the narrative, Beethoven's work opens with a soft and gentle piano solo that presents the main musical thought. The first public performance of the work took place in 1808 at the Theater an der Wien and was the composer’s last performance as a pianist. This concert was indeed very long, and in addition to the piano concerto, the Choral Fantasy and Symphonies Nos. 5 and 6 were premiered the same night.
Béla Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra was written between August and October 1943. It was commissioned by the director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, conductor Serge Koussevitzky. The colourful and easy-on-the-ear work of the Hungarian composer immediately gained enormous popularity. With many references to Hungarian folklore, the Concerto for Orchestra is a work full of life and thrilling energy.