Belgian National Orchestra – Hugh Wolff conductor – Sergey Khachatryan violin
Aeriality Anna Thorvaldsdottir
Violin Concerto no. 1, op. 77 Dmitry Shostakovich
Vorspiel und Liebestod (Tristan und Isolde) Richard Wagner
La valse Maurice Ravel
We glide through the thin air high above earth’s reality in Aeriality (2010/11). In her work, the Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir explores the boundary between symphonic music and sound art. We descend from the clouds and float into a sparkling, gilded ballroom at the imperial court in Vienna. After the horrors of World War I, Ravel reworked his pre-war composition, titled Wien, which should have been a tribute to the city, its waltzes and Johan Strauss II, into La Valse (1920). A macabre undertone is discernible under the light-footed dance steps. A razor-sharp criticism of the decadence of the bourgeoisie who fled into a world of amusement.
Shostakovich’s life and work, meanwhile, is best described as a pas de deux between subversion and conformism. Sergey Khachatryan – who won the Queen Elisabeth Competition in 2005 – will perform his Violin Concerto No. 1 (1947/48). The strict censorship of the government officials compelled the artist to wait until 1955 before his composition, which was deemed too “Western”, could be performed. Wagner also sought to express an endless desire for something that transcends all conventions with the famous Tristan chord in Tristan und Isolde (1865). In the finale Isolde merges with her beloved: ‘In the world-breath (…) will drown – submerge – unconscious – highest lust.’ Hugh Wolff opens the universe of the highest human lust for you.