C. SAINT-SAËNS, J. SUK

 

C. SAINT-SAËNS, J. SUK

Conductor CHUHEI IWASAKI

Concerto No.2 for piano and orchestra in G minor, Op.22, Camille Saint-Saëns
Raul da Costa piano
– –
Symphony No.2 in C minor, Op.27, ‘Asraël’ (*), Josef Suk
(*) First performance by the OFM

1.45 h (w/intermission)
orquestafilarmonicademalaga.com
Program notes Jose Antonio Canton

photo ©insoniaaudiovisual

Camille Saint-Saëns composed his Piano Concerto No. 2, Op.22 in just seventeen days during the spring of 1868. Structured in three movements, the first one opens as a tribute to Bach which, as a kind of cadenza, the French composer borrowed from the theme discarded by Gabriel Fauré, subject to experimentation with the organ, an instrument of which the latter was an accomplished virtuoso. Its elegiac character contrasts with the central scherzante movement that recalls Mendelssohn’s stylistic fluidity. It premiered with little success in May 1868 at the Sala Pleyel in París, with Saint-Saëns at the piano under the baton of Anton Rubinstein, and Franz Liszt as a privileged and satisfied witness who speculated that the concerto would have a better future.
The Polish composer Josef Suk’s Symphony No. 2 in C minor, Op.27 is generally considered his masterpiece, endowed with “Mahlerian” density and “Straussian” harmonic diversity. The work is subtitled Asraël in reference to the angel in charge of assisting the soul on separation from the body at the time of death. Composition of the symphony was motivated by two tragic events in the life of the musician: the death in 1904 of his mentor and father in law, the great composer Antonín Dvorák, and the subsequent death just 14 months later of his wife Otylka. In this piece Suk transmits a complete spectrum of emotions, ranging from a strictly instrumental eloquence of profound pain to evocations of lost love, as well as the stoic acceptance of death, assuming with great stylistic distinction  the patterns of late symphonic romanticism.

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