Belgian National Orchestra – Michael Schønwandt conductor – Khatia Buniatishvili piano
Karelia Overture, op. 10 Jean Sibelius
Piano Concerto, op. 16 Edvard Grieg
Symphony no. 4, op. 29, "Inextinguishable" Carl Nielsen
The further we travel northwards, the shorter the days become. In the Arctic Circle the sun never rises above the horizon for several weeks, shrouding everything in a mysterious dark blue light. Perhaps this phenomenon influenced the many magical compositions of so many Scandinavian composers? The pianist Khatia Buniatishvili lights up the long and dark winter days with a performance of Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto in a minor.
When Carl Nielsen composed his Symphony No. 4 in 1916, Scandinavia and the whole of Europe were enveloped in darkness. World War I cast its shadow over Europe for many, long years. And yet he chose a title that was full of hope for his composition, i.e., Det Uudslukkelige, or ‘The Inextinguishable’, with which he refers to the ‘elementary desire to live’. An unquenchable endeavor to continue and, despite everything, try to reach utopia. It is this primal force which you can sense in his music and which provides a glimmer of light in these dark times.