Conductor: Yasuo Shinozaki
Soloist: Andrey Baranov, violin
Berlioz: Overture to Béatrice et Bénédict
Glazunov: Violin Concerto
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 2, “Little Russian”
The final concert for the Summer Season is commanded by conductor Yasuo Shinozaki and opens with Hector Berlioz’s overture to Béatrice and Bénédict. This opera was inspired by Berlioz’s travels to Rome, a pastime which he found particularly inspiring when composing. He based the work on the amusing characters from the Shakespearean comedy Much Ado About Nothing, in particular Lord Benedict and the governor’s niece Beatrice. The music from the overture conveys a fervent love story set upon a masquerade of hidden intentions, the ploy of tricks and the eventual declaration of love. Aleksandr Glazunov’s technically exacting Violin Concerto in A minor premièred in St Petersburg in 1905 with Leopold Auer as soloist. While the work exhibits all the composer’s prowess in orchestral writing, Glazunov is known to have taken up playing the violin specifically to enable him to grasp the full technical spectrum of writing for the instrument. The work’s movements run into each other, the music embracing a continuous flow of give and take between soloist and orchestral players. The soloist is the astounding Andrey Baranov, winner of multiple international competitions.
The Summer Season’s closing work, Tchaikovsky’s “Little Russian” Symphony No. 2, enjoyed immediate success at its 1873 première in Moscow under Nikolai Rubinstein. It was enthusiastically endorsed by the group of nationalistic Russian composers known as “The Five”, led by Mily Balakirev. Because Tchaikovsky used three Ukrainian folk songs to great effect in this work it was nicknamed the “Little Russian”, as Ukraine was at that time frequently called “Little Russia”. Despite its initial success Tchaikovsky was not satisfied with the symphony, revising it extensively in 1879-80, substantially rewriting the opening movement and shortening the finale.
Single tickets are priced from R65 – R230 and are available at Computicket. All concerts commence at 19:30 at the Playhouse Opera Theatre. Pre-concert talks are held from 18:00 – 18:40. The playhouse precinct, including surrounding parking garages, is patrolled by a dedicated security team. For more information visit KZN Philharmonic, and to book other Summer Season tickets visit Computicket.