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31 March 2023
Bruxelles / Brussel (Brussels)

Arabella Steinbacher & Korngold - Larcher
Nationaal Orkest van Belgie conducted by Eva Ollikainen - Bozar

Program Info:
Nationaal Orkest van Belgie
Eva Ollikainen , conductor
Arabella Steinbacher , violin

The Polish composer Witold Lutosławski composed his First Symphony in extremely difficult circumstances. The first movement arose between 1941 and 1944 in Nazi-occupied Warsaw. A few days before the Warsaw uprising, Lutosławski fled to a nearby village with his score sketches. In 1945 he returned to Warsaw completely wiped out, where he completed the second, third and fourth movements. After its premiere in 1948, however, the work was banned by Poland's new communist government, which, following Stalin's lead, condemned modern music in principle. It was not until ten years later that the symphony was rehabilitated. In this early work, Lutosławski shows his fascination with composers such as Stravinsky, Debussy, Ravel, Prokofiev and Bartók. Extremely rationally constructed – technically perfect and full of intricate counterpoint – this symphony also paradoxically succeeds in provoking extreme emotions – through the colorful orchestration and passionate twists and turns.

To escape Nazism, the Austrian composer Erich Korngold emigrated to America. In Hollywood he built a career as a film composer. His father, the famous music critic Julius Korngold, considered this a waste of his talent and continued to urge his son to write 'serious music' again. Only in the year of his father's death, the same year in which Nazism was defeated, did Erich heed this and finalize a violin concerto that had been haunting his mind for some time. Korngold Violin Concerto exudes the atmosphere of fin de siècle Vienna, is very large and can compete in orchestration with the best works of Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss.

In addition to Lutosławski and Korngold, this concert also presents a Belgian premiere by the Austrian composer Thomas Larcher. His Second Symphony consists of four movements and has a classical structure. The title “Kenotaph” (cenotaph: a tomb for the deceased whose remains cannot be found) is a tribute to the many refugees who drowned in the Mediterranean in 2016. A monument made up of sounds, a drama without words.

Witold Lutosławski , Symphony No. 1
Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35, the concerto has themes from the scores for the movies ANOTHER DAWN (1937), ANTHONY ADVERSE (1936) & THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER (1937)
Thomas Larcher, Symphony No. 2 “Kenotaph” (Belgian premiere)

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Last edited: 27 May 2022 - 09:36 hours