Chamber Orchestra of Europe – Collegium Vocale Gent – David Afkham conductor – Pierre-Laurent Aimard piano – Sophie Harmsen mezzo-soprano – Werner Güra tenor – Johannes Weisser baritone – Tareq Nazmi bass
2 Episodes from Lenau's Faust, S. 110 Franz Liszt
Piano Concerto no. 15, KV 450 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Die erste Walpurgisnacht, op. 60 Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
You cannot fail to be mesmerised by the beauty of Mendelssohn’s Die erste Walpurgisnacht. From the opening notes, the cantata’s overture takes you on a journey to a magical and supernatural world that was very fashionable in the nineteenth century. It leads you to a pagan feast, called Walpurgisnacht, celebrating spring and the exaltation of nature. The expressiveness and rare power of this cantata was inspired by one of Goethe’s poems, which itself was inspired by a popular legend, is consistent with the resistance of paganism in the face of Christianity. The Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Collegium Vocale Gent, a group of excellent soloists and the outstanding young conductor David Afkham pull out all the stops for this allegory of the freedom of conscience in the face of forced conversions. Also on the programme: Mozart’s sumptuous Piano Concerto No. 15, which will be performed by the virtuoso Pierre-Laurent Aimard, who recorded this piece a decade ago with the same orchestra (Warner Classics).