St Petersburg, Concert Hall

Close of the III International Organ Festival

Thierry Escaich (organ)
Pelageya Kurennaya (soprano)

The Mariinsky Orchestra
Conductor: Valery Gergiev

Joseph Haydn
Symphony No 82 in C Major, The Bear, Hob I: 82

Carl Maria von Weber
Overture from the opera Der Freischütz

Karl Amadeus Hartmann
Suite from music of the opera Der Simplicius Simplicissimus Jugend

Rodion Shchedrin
Tanya-Katya, romance in the folk style for female singer and orchestra

Johann Sebastian Bach
Organ Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor, BWV 582

Carl Maria von Weber – Hector Berlioz
Aufforderung zum Tanz

Francis Poulenc
Organ Concerto in G Minor, FP 93

An interview with Thierry Escaich >>

About the Concert

Francis Poulenc worked for four years on his Concerto for Organ, Strings and Kettle Drums, completing it in 1938. The work in this incredibly rare genre was commissioned by the Countess de Polignac, the rich American Winnaretta Singer who married a French aristocrat and, as if in the good old days, appeared as a society hostess and patron of the arts.
The concerto is considered an example of the “neo-baroque” style. When composing it, Poulenc studied the music of Bach and Buxtehude, and he was also inspired by Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms. The baroque quality of the concerto should not be exaggerated albeit because it opens not with an orchestral ritornello, as was commonly accepted, but with an organ solo. Neither does the composition structure of the concerto follow baroque models. The seven movements of the composition are placed in an almost mirror-like fashion (the seventh is a loose repeat of the first and the sixth of the second) and it is performed without interruption. The kettle drums at times have an accompanying role and at others they perform solos. The organ part is unusually varied in terms of timbre. Poulenc gave it an incredibly detailed register, in the development of which he was assisted by the concerto’s first performer – the organist and composer Maurice Duruflé.
Anna Bulycheva

Age category 6+

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