St Petersburg, Concert Hall

Mariinsky Stradivarius Ensemble and Chamber Orchestra of the Munich Philharmonic


Soloists:
Lorenz Nasturica-Herschcowici (violin)
Anton Kozmin (violin)

Conductors:
Lorenz Nasturica-Herschcowici
Valery Gergiev


PROGRAMME:
Johann Sebastian Bach
Double Violin Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1043

Felix Mendelssohn
Symphony for Strings No 9 in C Major

Pyotr Tchaikovsky
Serenade for Strings in C Major, Op. 48

About the Concert

The Double Violin Concerto was composed in Köthen, where Johann Sebastian Bach served as Kapellmeister at the Court of Prince Leopold. Bach did not have access to a good organ, as the prince was an adherent of Calvinism and did not approve of the use of music during divine worship. It comes as no surprise that almost all of Bach’s legacy from the Köthen period comprises instrumental works of a secular character. They include sonatas and partitas for solo violin, suites for solo cello and numerous instrumental concerti.
In his concerti Bach follows the traditions of Antonio Vivaldi, interpreting the latter’s experience in his own unique way. Just like the Italian maestro, Bach uses a three-movement cycle with fast outer movements framing the slow middle one, and he also builds the drama of the first movement against the contrasting sound of the full orchestra (ripieno) and the soloists (concertino).
In the Double Concerto the parts of both violins are perfectly equal in status. The first movement is staggering for the complexity of its counterpoint. The cantilena closely resembles the spirit of an opera duet, and here the orchestra has an accompanying role. In the energetic finale there is almost no sense of the dance features typical of the closing movements of Bach’s concerti, although in terms of the brilliance of polyphonic writing it in no way cedes to the first movement. Bach’s Double Concerto has become one of the most popular works in the violin repertoire. One performance of the concerto in Moscow in November 1945 went down in history when Yehudi Menuhin – one of the first foreign soloists to perform in the USSR after the war – played it together with David Oistrakh.
Vladimir Khavrov

Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in C major (1880) is one of the composer’s most famous works. When he composed it, Tchaikovsky was making reference both to examples of 18th century music (he himself wrote that “In the first section I have paid my tributes to Mozart; it is a deliberate imitation of his style, and I would be happy if people were to say I was not too distant from the image I took.”) and to the discoveries of his own contemporaries, amongst whom the Hungarian composer Volkmann was particularly close to him.
The typical features of instrumental composition of the early 18th century and Mozart’s era are doubtless present in the first section. The second section – a waltz – is a traditional feature of a serenade as a reference to an everyday genre (in the 18th century this was the minuet). The Élégie (third section) has a definite vocal musical nature: the accompanying voices may be interpreted as a “chorus”, while the main melody is, of course, a romance; it is a brilliant “song without words” alongside other pieces written by Tchaikovsky. We meet yet another everyday kind of music in the finale, the theme of which is the Russian dance song Under the Apple Tree. This undeniable masterpiece by the great composer blends together the traditions of two centuries of Russian and European music.
Nadezhda Kulygina

About the performers

The Mariinsky Stradivarius Ensemble is a group of musicians who perform on the world’s most famous and unique-sounding string instruments in the world. The ensemble was founded on the initiative of Valery Gergiev, Artistic and General Director of the Mariinsky Theatre. The Mariinsky Stradivarius Ensemble includes the finest instrumentalists and lead soloists in the Mariinsky Orchestra. Popular and well-loved classical works sound completely different when performed by them than at an average concert thanks to the incredibly rich and beautiful timbres of the instruments of Amati, Stradivari, Guarneri, Guadanini and Gofriller.


A festive concert in 1988 on the occasion of the 75th birthday of Benjamin Britten which took place in the Great Concert Hall of the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München is today regarded as the birth of the Munich Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra. The top-class ensemble comprises members of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra and has subsequently been able to maintain its place not only at home but has also achieved an excellent reputation during numerous guest performances throughout Germany and other parts of Europe.
For a magnificent concert at the Baroque Evening Festival in Varazdin, one of the most significant concert events in Croatia, the orchestra was awarded the First Prize and thus laid the foundation stone for its further success.
Ever since, the Munich Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra has held regular concerts throughout Germany and abroad and made tremendously successful debut performances at renowned festivals, such as Schwetzingen, Belgrade, Brescia and Santander.
In the summer of 2004 the First Concertmaster of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Lorenz Nasturica-Herschcowici, became the overall artistic director of the Munich Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra. Two eminent concerts featuring the world-famous pianist Hélène Grimaud under the direction of Lorenz Nasturica-Herschcowici as Concertmaster in March 2007 in the Munich Philharmonic Hall and in Stuttgart’s Liederhalle presenting piano concerts by Robert Schumann and Ludwig van Beethoven confirmed the exceptional reputation of this orchestra. In July of 2008 the ensemble gave two acclaimed concerts featuring Anne-Sophie Mutter and Nikolaj Znaider to an audience of several thousand listeners at the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern festivals.
Sold-out concerts in the fall of 2009 during the prestigious George Enescu Festival in Bucharest and in the Munich Philharmonic Hall together with the emerging German pianist Martin Stadtfeld brought the Munich Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra increasingly into the focus of national and international attention. In 2012 the successful cooperation with Martin Stadtfeld continued during a joint Germany tour which also produced CD recordings for Sony. In addition to several world premieres, the Munich Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra has presented several remarkable CDs in the course of the years, which also featured works by contemporary artists.

Age category 6+

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