Belgian National Orchestra – Constantinos Carydis conductor – Saleem Abboud Ashkar piano – Stephen Waarts violin – Andrei Ioniţă cello
Ritual Alfred Schnittke
Concerto for piano, violin and cello, op. 56 Ludwig van Beethoven
Coriolanus, Ouverture, op. 62 Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony no. 9, op. 70 Dmitry Shostakovich
When the Yugoslavian embassy in Moscow commissioned Ritual from Alfred Schnittke, to celebrate the liberation of Belgrade, he decided to compose a work in memory of all the victims of World War II instead. He could not envisage the abject crimes that would be committed in Yugoslavia a few years later. This composition was performed for the first time in Novosibirsk.
Given that Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7 was inspired by the invasion of Russia by the Germans and that his Symphony No. 8 commemorated the suffering caused by war and the Battle of Stalingrad, the Russian public expected his ninth symphony to be a large composition, the apogee of his World War II trilogy. It expected him to glorify Stalin’s achievements. But it was nothing of the sort. Symphony No. 9 only lasts around half an hour (compared with the other two which are each more than one hour long) and is performed by a smaller orchestra. While the first two instalments of the trilogy were accused of being counter-revolutionary and anti-Soviet, the last symphony expresses a sense of relief, a victory over militarism.
Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture continues to be one of his most powerful, dramatic and expressive works. Along with his Egmont Overture, it is one of his most ‘heroic’ works. Initially, he composed this overture for Heinrich Joseph von Collin’s tragedy Coriolan, which was inspired by Plutarch’s biography. Today it has become a popular piece in the symphonic repertoire.
Beethoven’s Triple Concerto (1803), which is one of his best, will be performed by pianist Saleem Ashkar, cellist Andreï Ionita and violinist Stephen Waarts, whom you may still remember from the final of the 2015 Queen Elisabeth Competition. The Greek conductor Constantinos Carydis will revive these great masters, and their unique voices. You will finally understand what man is capable of, when he chooses his own path and refuses to be led by convention.