St Petersburg, Concert Hall

Symphony Orchestra of the Karelian State Philharmonic

Soloist: Vadim Kholodenko (piano)

The Mariinsky Male Chorus
Principal Chorus Master: Andrei Petrenko

Conductor: Anatoly Rybalko

Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No 6 in F Major, Pastoral Symphony, Op. 68

Ferruccio Busoni
Piano Concerto with Male Chorus

About the Concert

Beethoven’s Pastorale symphony is a lofty philosophical idyll, foretold by the idea of harmony between man and nature. The headings given by Beethoven to the symphony’s movements make it one of the first examples of programme symphonism. At the same time, Beethoven did his utmost to underline the supremacy of the expressiveness of music. Here are the composer’s annotations to the Sixth Symphony: “The audience itself is left to determine the situation. Sinfonia caracteristica, or Recollections of Peasant Life. Any inventiveness will lose if it is used too much in instrumental music. Sinfonia pastorella. He who has a notion of rural life can imagine without many headings what the composer wanted here. The whole is more an expression of emotions rather than a portrayal of them, this can be seen without any description.”
The first movement – The Awakening of Joyous Emotions in the Open Air – is filled with the poetry of rural tranquillity, the limitless expanse of nature. The second movement – Scene by a Stream – is imbued with contemplative peace. The descriptive details (the babbling of the stream, bird-song) adorn the musical landscape with authenticity. The third movement – The Peasants’ Merry Assembly – is a colourful genre scene of a happy village celebration: dances to the sounds of a simple ensemble. The fourth movement – Thunder. The Storm – in the words of Berlioz “leaves everything that had been attempted in the genre far behind”. Through the orchestra, the composer conveys the grandiose power of a raging storm. The finale has two titles – The Shepherd’s Song and The Joyful Feeling of Thanks after the Storm. Once again tranquillity rules in nature.
Iosif Raiskin

Ferruccio Busoni’s Piano Concerto is one of the greatest works in the history of the genre. The concerto lasts over one hour and involves a vast orchestra with additional woodwinds and a veritable battery of percussion instruments. The piano part requires high technical proficiency and endurance from the soloist.
The piece features numerous allusions to the bravura style of the late-romantic concerto. Lurking behind the serious outer form one can trace Busoni’s ironic view of an obsolete tradition – in just a few years he would write his manifesto heralding a new musical aesthetic.
The five movements of the concerto follow each other without interruption. The first movement enacts the role of a prologue. The second movement has the secondary title of Pezzo giocoso (“Merry Piece”). In the scherzo-like music, from time to time one can hear dramatic episodes, one of which is structured around the tragic Neapolitan song Fenesta che lucive e mo nun luce. The third movement – Pezzo serioso (“Serious Piece”) – is the longest. It consists of three sections; the central one stands apart for its unusual harmonious language, heralding the dawn of the 20th century. The second scherzo has the secondary title of All’italiana (“In the Italian Spirit”). The kaleidoscopic change of themes in which one can hear echoes of arias by Rossini and street tunes creates an almost surrealistic image.
In the finale of the concerto the soloist and the orchestra are joined by a male chorus. It sings the text of the classical Danish writer Adam Oehlenschläger’s poem Aladdin. The Faust-like plot of this piece attracted Busoni, who planned to produce a musical accompaniment for it but composed just one chorus. This music features in the concerto.
Vladimir Khavrov

About the performers

The Symphony Orchestra of the Karelia State Philharmonic was founded in 1933s. Over the years, the ensemble has on several occasions changed its director and has been known as the Orchestra of the Radio Committee, the Karelia Philharmonic, the Karelia Radio and TV Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Karelia. In 1997 the orchestra finally became part of the Karelia Philharmonic.
At different periods the orchestra has been directed by the conductors Leonid Teplitsky, Alexander Dmitriev, Edvard Tchivzhel, Oleg Soldatov and Marius Stravinsky. From the 2013–2014 season the orchestra’s Artistic Director and Principal Conductor has been the St Petersburg-based conductor Anatoly Rybalko. The ensemble currently has seventy-nine musicians, many of whom are graduates of the Ste Petersburg and Petrozavodsk State Conservatoires.
The Symphony Orchestra of the Karelia Philharmonic tours in concert throughout Russia, Germany, Poland, France, Spain, Italy and Switzerland. The musicians have particularly close relationships with Scandinavia. The orchestra took part in the Northern Lights festival (Norway, 2009), the I International Piano Festival Top of the World (Norway, 2009), the IV International Ballet Festival in Savonlinna (Finland, 2008), the Luosto Classic festival (Finland, 2010) and the Lapland International Festival (2011, Finland).
The ensemble regularly performs music by Karelian composers including Helmer Rayner Sinisalo, Ruvim Pergament, Roine Rautio, Eduard Patlaenko, Gennady Vavilov, Alexander Beloborodov, Boris Napreyev, Roman Zelensky, Viktoria Sergeyenko, Igor Subbotin, Olga Sedova, Anastasia Salo, Elena Savina and Polina Kryshen.
The orchestra has performed the Russian premieres of many works by Russian and international composers. These include Pyotr Tchaikovsky-Andrei Mikita’s Romeo and Juliet for cello and orchestra, Salomon Jadassohn’s Piano Concerto No 1, Ignaz Brüll’s Macbeth overture, Andreas Makris’ Viola Concerto and Lucas Jaramillo’s Gliese 581.
In the autumn of 2012 the Symphony Orchestra of the Karelia State Philharmonic took part in the II Symphony Music Forum of Russia and the Finnish-Russian Cultural Forum in Joensuu. In the 2013–2014 season the orchestra celebrated its eightieth anniversary and presented audiences with the first Anniversary series featuring the conductors Oleg Soldatov and Marius Stravinsky. In the 2014–2015 season the ensemble gave concerts at the Great Hall of the St Petersburg Philharmonic.

Age category 6+

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